My BlackBerry Bold 9900 has been buzzing since the earliest hours this morning, and its continued to buzz with news of Research in Motions stunningly steep decline. As I write this, the device rests in my shirt pocket and continues to buzz.
The news from RIM is sobering at the very least. In a call with analysts during the evening of March 29, CEO Thorsten Heins said that sales were off more than 20 percentmuch worse than analysts had predicted. Heins also announced the departure of former co-CEO Jim Balsillie, CTO David Tach and COO Jim Rowan.
In a sudden purge, Heins has cleared the executive suite of the source of some of RIMs problems. Unfortunately, RIMs problems go far beyond the three people who got the ax March 29. RIMs fundamental problems are twofold. The first is the failure to innovate, and the second is the failure to understand their markets. Added to this mix should be a secondary problem, which is failure to execute. These are serious problems for any organization, but in a market as competitive as the smartphone business, they could be fatal.
RIM makes wonderful email and messaging devices. This is why I persuaded the folks at eWEEK to buy my first BlackBerry Curve back in the days when I was an employee. Since then, as Ive built my business, Ive continued to depend on those features. But the world of smartphones has grown far beyond email and messaging. Today, the best smartphones have beautifully designed touch-screens, can handle a wide variety of media and content effortlessly, have thoughtfully designed interfaces with (sometimes) superb ergonomics, and they do e-mail. The BlackBerry has a nice touch-screen.