John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Overreactor Meltdown: RIM's Lazaridis Blows Again

Research in Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis picked a lousy time for his latest PR gaffe.

With a little over a week to go before the launch of the company’s new PlayBook tablet, Lazaridis indignantly broke off an interview with BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones after what appeared to be a reasonable question about RIM’s national security compliance issues in India and the United Arab Emirates.

“The interview is over,” a visibly irked Lazaridis said, gesturing at the camera. “It’s just not fair. This is a national security issue. Turn that off.”

An odd response to a question for which Lazaridis arguably should have been prepared and expecting. RIM’s long-running difficulties with Gulf States and others threatening to ban its BlackBerry messenger services over national security concerns aren’t exactly irrelevant to the company’s business. And even if they were, Lazaridis certainly could have parried questions about them quite easily.

And he should have.

Because this meltdown is just one more in a string of embarrassing public displays. There was, for instance, this Dangerfieldian rant to the New York Times last week:

“Why is it that people don’t appreciate our profits? Why is it that people don’t appreciate our growth? Why is it that people don’t appreciate the fact that we spent the last four years going global? Why is it that people don’t appreciate that we have 500 carriers in 170 countries with products in almost 30 languages? I don’t fully understand why there’s this negative sentiment, and I just don’t have the time to battle it. Because in the end, what I’ve learned is you’ve just got to prove it over and over and over.”

And, of course, there was his defensive, evasive and at times completely nonsensical interview at our D:Dive Into Mobile conference last December. Video of that below:

The most unfortunate aspect of all this: Up until December, Lazaridis had arguably been the more poised of RIM’s two CEOs, playing the straightman to Jim Balsillie’s babbling boss.

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