Feature

BlackBerry’s woes start at the top

“It’s never a good idea to have two CEOs,” and both men’s insistence on the top title tells us everything we need to know about their “oversize egos,” said Fabrice Taylor at the Free Press.

Fabrice TaylorFree Press (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Research in Motion, the Ontario-based maker of the BlackBerry, was once the epitome of a great tech company, said Fabrice Taylor. It invented the smartphone and formerly “owned the market.” But today “it’s on its knees,” having been clobbered by Apple in design, advertising, and basic understanding of the new smartphone consumer. Who’s to blame for RIM’s devastating decline? Its lousy management.

First among RIM’s problems is that it has two CEOs, techie Mike Lazaridis and marketing man Jim Balsillie. “It’s never a good idea to have two CEOs,” and both men’s insistence on the top title tells us everything we need to know about their “oversize egos.” After the stock fell 77 percent this year, executives last week “disappointed investors again” by announcing that the next batch of RIM smartphones will be delayed until the end of 2012. Listening to management’s excuses, it’s clear they have “little idea what to do” with their suffering company. The once-great company’s fortunes could yet turn around, but nothing will change as long as the RIM board is full of “seat fillers who rubber-stamp management’s desires.”

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