Why RIM's New CEO Is Unlikely to Succeed

Rob Enderle
Slide Show

Seven Major CEO Concerns CIOs Should Address

Understand the concerns of CEOs and the implications they may have on IT.

RIM just made an executive change at the top and the market doesn't appear to be very happy with the decision. Given how upset the market was with the existing leadership, this points the way toward the core of the company's problem.


What is fascinating about engineering companies is that they almost always apply the same solution to a variety of problems. That same solution goes back to the core skill set of engineering. Whether it is Google figuring the reason so many things are failing is it doesn't have enough engineers, or RIM putting an engineer in charge, there is a certain flawed consistency to their approach.


But at the core of RIM's problem is that it lost the ability to build good products. The BlackBerry remains one of the most reliable and solidly built products in the market, but the market that created it is a fraction of the size it once was and RIM hasn't been able to evolve out of it successfully yet. This is actually more of a marketing than an engineering problem, suggesting RIM needs someone a bit closer to Louis Gerstner who understood this kind of a problem.


This doesn't mean RIM will fail, but this latest executive change won't help matters. Let me explain.


The Problem with RIM


RIM was created to go after a very specific opportunity, which was the need for professionals to stay connected and it created the first truly popular two-way pager. This device was incredibly useful and I was an early fan. Over time it gained PDA-like features and then recognizing potential early on - as Apple did with the iPod's evolution into the iPhone - RIM successfully evolved with the BlackBerry phone.


Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 11, 2012 5:25 AM Steve Sasman Steve Sasman  says:

Astute commentary on the IT vs consumer market drivers of the success of Apple vs RIM.  I also think one of the main hurdles for RIM is just the overriding sentiment that they are toast, and their tech is old and past it's prime, almost like a pager - remember those?  Whatever they do, they better do it fast or be relegated to being a small niche player rather than the dominant force they once were.

Feb 11, 2012 8:19 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says: in response to Steve Sasman

Think they've already dropped into niche status, but agree, if they can't change the perception that they have failed they won't avoid that outcome.   


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