Lists & Rankings

Winners & Losers 2011: He says, RIM says

A year of furious spin doctoring for Research In Motion.

Jim Balsillie (right,) joint CEO of Research in Motion, and President and joint CEO Mike Lazaridis, wait for the start of the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Waterloo,  Ontario, on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 (Photo: Chris Young/CP)


Much of 2011 has been an ebb and flow of management declarations of RIM’s resurgence and another disappointment, delay or excuse. The rushed-to-market PlayBook has generated barely half the projected sales, and the much-anticipated BBX smartphone platform has been delayed almost a year. The iPhone, which co-CEO Mike Lazaridis pooh-poohed upon its 2007 launch as having “severe limitations,” now far outstrips the BlackBerry in U.S. market share. Even with the company’s stock down almost 70% since February, Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie continue to trumpet RIM’s conquest of the smartphone world. Wishful thinking? Hype? Or delusion?

Playbook, April 2011

RIM said: “We have actually put this company straight in the middle of the whole tablet mobile computing space”—Balsillie during the launch

Others said: “For every feature that works well right now, there seems to be one that’s glitchy, half-baked or simply missing” —Time review


Co-CEO structure, June 2011

RIM said: “Jim and I have the perfect balance to make the hard decisions” —Lazaridis during Q1 2012 earnings call

Others said: “You should not have these two people at both positions because they have worked together all their lives and they are basically the same person”—billionaire investor Stephen Jarislowsky after selling half his firm’s huge stake in RIM


BlackBerry outage, October 2011

RIM said: “We got this one pretty right.…This one’s got enormously positive feedback”—Balsillie, on RIM’s app credit offer after a four-day outage

Others said: “[RIM] has not compensated consumers on a prorated basis for such loss of use” —claim in a class-action suit filed by a Montreal firm on behalf of BlackBerry users


Innovation, October 2011

RIM said: “We’ve leapfrogged everyone”—Balsillie on the new BBX operating system

Others said: BBX products now won’t hit the market until late 2012. “At each target miss, RIM falls further behind” —analyst Kevin Dede

Global stature, October 2011

RIM said: “You realize how huge a deal we are around the world? We are at 50%-odd market share in many of these markets”—Balsillie

Others said: Only 16% of corporate users are fully satisfied with their devices, compared to 44% of iPhone users —an Enterprise Management Associates study