Mobile

Hopeful, or clueless? RIM CEO says there’s “nothing wrong with the company”

While anyone with half a brain can see that BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is in trouble, the company’s new CEO, Thorsten Heins, doesn’t agree.

“There’s nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now,” Heins told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp in a radio interview this morning (via Reuters). He was careful to specify that he wasn’t talking about RIM as it existed before he took over six months ago. (Even though, realistically, the company was in far better shape then.)

Heins seems to be trying desperately to apply the reality-distortion field Steve Jobs was known for — only without any of the charisma or connection to reality. RIM reported a disastrous quarter last week, with massive losses, 5,000 more layoffs, and a crushing delay of its BlackBerry 10 OS to next year. But somehow, in Thorsten Heins’ world, everything is fine and dandy.

Heins said the company isn’t in a death spiral, and it’s not ignoring the outside world. He remains confident that RIM can be successful after the move toward its new OS.

“Yes, it is very, very challenged at the moment — specifically in the U.S. market,” he said. “The way I would describe it: we’re in the middle of a transition. 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.”

Of course, we can’t expect Heins to badmouth his struggling company in public, and he’s likely just trying to calm worried RIM employees and investors. But for once, I’d like to see him candidly discuss what’s actually wrong with the company. When he was first appointed, Heins seemed mostly satisfied with the direction RIM was taking. A few months later, during his first earnings call, he finally admitted that the company needed some sort of change, though he didn’t propose anything too radical (focus on enterprise, focus on BlackBerry 10, yadda yadda).

At this point, there’s little to give us hope about RIM’s prospects. Today a leaked roadmap showed that RIM is still aiming to release a 10-inch version of its failed tablet, and it has two BlackBerry 10 devices targeted for next year. I don’t doubt that RIM can build these products, but I wonder who will actually care about them once they land.

Photo via RIM’s media gallery


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