As a glorious titan in the technology field in Canada, RIM regularly made news headlines in the mid to late 2000s. Now that the Waterloo company has fallen from grace, it seems to be in the Canadian press twice as often—which suggests that as much as people love celebrating local success stories, they love laughing at others’ defeat even more.
But RIM insists that it isn’t anywhere close to being defeated.
“Despite all the negativity, we did our grow our customer base last quarter,” Peter Devenyi, a senior vice president with RIM, told Techvibes in an interview. “And we continue to be number one in many countries across the world.”
While some numbers have turned ugly, such as the BlackBerry’s loss in marketshare in the US and anemic sales of the PlayBook tablet, RIM affirms it remains in good shape. Despite a market value drop of 95% in four years, the company still has well over $2 billion in cash in the bank and nearly 80 million global subscribers.
“It’s a nice spot to drive a transition and a turnaround,” Peter believes.
Having joined RIM in 2005, Peter has seen the flood of executives evacuate the comany in the past couple of years. And he’s obviously well aware that RIM is slashing 5,000 jobs, or a third of its entire workforce, this year. Yet he is adamant that this ship can be turned around and that office morale is not low.
“It’s no doubt a tough transition,” he admits, “but I’ve never seen a greater level of commitment across the organization. No one has ever worked harder at the company than now. It’s wonderful to see this continued commitment to achieving what we have to achieve.”
What they have to achieve, of course, is BB10—the next-generation mobile platform and portfolio of devices that RIM has been forced to pin its delicate fate on.
“We’re not the first company to go through a transition of this nature,” Peter explained to us, “and we won’t be the last. We will redefine BlackBerry [with BB10] in much the same way that BlackBerry defined itself the first time.”
It’s a bold statement (pun intended), but one that RIM needs to make, and one that RIM truly needs to believe in—after all, anything less than perfection from BB10 could be the final nail in the coffin for the now-fragile company.
“In the past we have released products before they were ready,” he confessed, “but we’re not willing to do that this time.” He says that BB10 isn’t just the next annual OS update, but a new level of mobile technology that will pave the way for RIM’s next 10 years.
But first it has to launch. And so we wait.