Research In Motion may be reaching catastrophic levels, but CEO Thorsten Heins is not about to go quietly into the cold, dark night. He’s taken to The Globe and Mail and CBC Radio’s Metro Morning to maintain that RIM is undergoing a laborious strategic transition that is “painful” but ultimately necessary.
“Don’t count BlackBerry out,” begins Heins in his Globe and Mail piece. The relatively extensive article from the CEO and president of RIM suggests that it has become “fashionable” to count his company out. He suggests that the analysts are wrong and that the Waterloo corporation is instead “a company at the beginning of a transition that (we expect) will once again change the way people communicate.”
Heins alludes to the terrible financial results, the news that RIM will be operating at a loss for the first time in its existence as a company, the layoffs, and the delay of BlackBerry 10 – again – but he appears to spin it as part of the larger transition and as a sort of necessary evil to ensure that the next incarnation of RIM products is as good as humanly possible.
“We are working diligently on BlackBerry 10 in order to provide a compelling experience for our loyal enterprise customers and consumers. While we are in a very competitive and constantly changing market, customers benefit from this competition and continued innovation,” writes Heins.
As the article goes on, Heins takes the opportunity to boast about RIM’s accomplishments and about the fact that “RIM has no debt.” He writes of having more than $2 billion in cash on the balance sheet and having “generated $710 million in operating cash flow in the first quarter.”
Heins rails against media types who “have never made the drive to Waterloo,” going on about how developers around the world are “increasingly excited about the possibilities BlackBerry 10 offers.”
It is, it should be said, a unique spin job aimed at boosting morale and rallying the troops. It represents an apt but sure disconnect with some of RIM’s inflexible realities. The downturn in market share, the job losses, the product delays, the plunging stock prices, and the operating losses are not unheeded, but they are tempered pointedly.
The piece seems to echo Heins’ words after he took over the company from Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. He was defiant then; he’s defiant now.
But Heins isn’t fooling anyone. RIM is a company in trouble; it is in a “death spiral” and it will take more than another postponed product launch and some “exciting” apps to turn things around.