Research in Motion (RIM) has definitely seen sunnier days.
Not only does it continue to fall in market share in an increasingly competitive smartphone market, but it reportedly has internal strife to deal with as well. According to a letter posted on Boy Genius Report, one high-ranking RIM employee is not happy with the company. He lists a number of complaints aimed at helping the company.
Here is part of the letter:
To the RIM Senior Management Team:
I have lost confidence.
While I hide it at work, my passion has been sapped. I know I am not alone - the sentiment is widespread and it includes people within your own teams.
Mike and Jim, please take the time to really absorb and digest the content of this letter because it reflects the feeling across a huge percentage of your employee base. You have many smart employees, many that have great ideas for the future, but unfortunately the culture at RIM does not allow us to speak openly without having to worry about the career-limiting effects.
Before I get into the meat of the matter, I will say I am not part of a large group of bitter employees wishing to embarrass us. Rather, I believe these points need to be heard and I desperately want RIM to regain its position as a successful industry leader. Our carriers, distributors, alliance partners, enterprise customers, and our loyal end users all want the same thing... for BlackBerry to once again be leading the pack.
We are in the middle of major transition and things have never been more chaotic. Almost every project is falling further and further behind schedule at a time when we absolutely must deliver great, solid products on time. We urge you to make bold decisions about our organisational structure, about our culture and most importantly our products.
The letter goes on to make several recommendations for RIM. Most importantly, the employee wants RIM to focus on the end user better. The employee said the company needs to admit, Apple is nailing this and it is one of the reasons they have people lining up overnight at stores around the world.
The employee says the company needs to recruit heavy hitters in software development. In terms of application developers, this person says the company needs to invest and become developer friendly. He or she also says the company needs to do a better job consolidating projects. The unnamed executive goes on to make several more recommendations, clearly having some knowledge of the company.
In terms of co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the employee thinks there should a change at the top. He or she asays company seriously consider a new, fresh thinking, experienced CEO.
A few days after this letter hit the web, two newer letters from employees appeared on Boy Genius Report and expressed similar sentiments. One of them said the first letter brilliantly articulated just about everything I've thought and/or heard relating to the company in the last two years. The other one said the company's leadership handcuffs its talented people and listed random areas where this was true within RIM.
RIM sent an official statement in response to the first letter. The company kind of dismissed the notion that an employee would take to an anonymous letter to complain about it. It did acknowledge, however, the company is in a transitional period. It went on to explain the challenges and optimism it has in competing in the mobile industry.
The statement is below.
An Open Letter to RIM's senior management was published anonymously on the web today and it was attributed to an unnamed person described as a 'high level employee. It is obviously difficult to address anonymous commentary and it is particularly difficult to believe that a high level employee in good standing with the company would choose to anonymously publish a letter on the web rather than engage their fellow executives in a constructive manner, but regardless of whether the letter is real, fake, exaggerated or written with ulterior motivations, it is fair to say that the senior management team at RIM is nonetheless fully aware of and aggressively addressing both the company's challenges and its opportunities.
RIM recently confirmed that it is nearing the end of a major business and technology transition. Although this transition has taken longer than anticipated, there is much excitement and optimism within the company about the new products that are lined up for the coming months. There is a fundamental business reality however that following an extended period of hyper growth (during which RIM nearly quadrupled in size over the past 5 years alone), it has become necessary for the company to streamline its operations in order to allow it to grow its business profitably while pursuing newer strategic opportunities. Again, RIM's management team takes these challenges seriously and is actively addressing the situation. The company is thankfully in a solid business and financial position to tackle the opportunities ahead with a solid balance sheet (nearly $3 billion in cash and no debt), strong profitability (RIM's net income last quarter was $695 million) and substantial international growth (international revenue in Q1 grew 67% over the same quarter last year). In fact, while growth has slowed in the US, RIM still shipped 13.2 million BlackBerry smartphones last quarter (which is about 100 smartphones per minute, 24 hours per day) and RIM is more committed than ever to serving its loyal customers and partners around the world.
Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna