RIM CEO Welcomes Critics to Happy-Fun Rainbow Land

Published on July 3, 2012
by John Paczkowski

In general, as death nears, there is seldom a sudden dramatic increase in pain, although pain and other symptoms may increase, or in some cases, decrease as the disease advances. Some people become confused or agitated in the last days or weeks of life.
— Charles Kemp, “Terminal Illness: A Guide to Nursing Care”

Despite a slew of evidence to the contrary — plunging market share, rapidly deteriorating fundamentals, mass layoffs and a stock that’s falling like a knife, Research In Motion’s got a bright future ahead of it.

This according to CEO Thorsten Heins, who says RIM is headed for a rebound, not certain doom. In fact, he crowed in an op-ed piece in the Globe and Mail, “We expect to empower people as never before.”

“There’s nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now,” Heins told CBC Radio this morning. “I’m not talking about the company as I, kind of, took it over six months ago. I’m talking about the company (in the) state it’s in right now. This company is not ignoring the world out there, nor is it in a death spiral.”

Really. What’s this look like to you, Thorsten?

There’s a lot to be said for optimism in the face of looming disaster, but to maintain that there’s nothing wrong with RIM — a week after the company posted its first loss in eight years and delayed the launch of BlackBerry 10 until 2013 — is silly. And it makes Heins sound uncomfortably like RIM’s oblivious co-founders.

Which is not to say that Heins should straight-out admit that RIM is in terminal decline. To do so would clearly be unwise. But to maintain that there’s nothing wrong with the company, when it’s so clearly a Gong Show of missteps and poor execution, is equally unwise.

“Yes, it is very, very challenged at the moment — specifically in the U.S. market. The way I would describe it: We’re in the middle of a transition,” Heins said. “All that is in the making, it’s in the works. This company is in the middle of it and I’m positive we will emerge successfully from that transition.”

We’ll see, I guess.

But with declining BlackBerry shipments, a slow leveling out of new subscriber additions and now the delay of BlackBerry 10 until after this year’s critical back-to-school season, RIM is in dire trouble. Perhaps it’s not plunged in a death spiral yet, but there is no denying it’s on the precipice.

[Image credit: Chart courtesy Asymco]

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