John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

RIM Co-CEO: Come With Me and You'll Be in a World of Pure Imagination

According to Research in Motion Co-CEO Jim Balsillie, the company’s forthcoming BlackBerry PlayBook is launching into a perfect world. A world in which there is unwavering carrier support for the device and massive demand for it as well. A world in which the long-term challenges facing RIM cease to exist. A world in which the PlayBook recreates the success of the first BlackBerry in 1999.

In other words, an imaginary world. At this point, anyway.

During RIM’s fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday, Balsillie talked up the PlayBook no end, touting it repeatedly as “a winner” and the first in a series of devices that will “future proof” the company. “[PlayBook is] about super high performance,” he said. “It’s about full Web fidelity. It’s about a no compromise environment….It’s about enterprise greatness.”

Enterprise greatness, eh? If that’s the case, how many PlayBook’s does RIM see itself shipping? Quite a few, said Balsillie, though he declined to provide any hard numbers. “The interest [in PlayBook] is extremely high,” he said. “Let me put it this way: I have many corporate clients that have approached us about, you know, each wanting tens of thousands, several tens of thousands of PlayBooks.”

I certainly hope so, because investors weren’t too happy with RIM’s latest financials or its forecast for the current quarter. And Balsillie’s remarks today–ironically uttered while shareholders were busy slashing billions of dollars from RIM’s market capitalization–only added more pressure to the PlayBook’s launch next month. The device has to be the “winner” Balsillie claims it is. Otherwise the investment in PlayBook research and development that RIM blames for its lower first-quarter outlook will have been for naught.

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