From time to time BNN viewers take me to task for what they feel is my “constant RIM bashing.” This is what I tell them about why I’ve spent the past five years asking knowledgeable guests scary questions about the technology, the competition, and the management behind Canada’s only remaining technology hero.
I respect you for being one of the brighter BNN business personalities but enough already of your constant RIM bashing. It doesn’t look good on you. It’s obvious that you are an Apple fan — No problem there but the constant put down of RIM makes it look like you took a bath on the stock and have a big chip on your shoulder. RIM has made a number of major missteps in the last couple of years and is well behind the leaders in its segment now but it is one of our few remaining Canadian tech firms. It may never recover but should be encouraged to do so rather than be constantly panned by TV personalities liker you. Apple will one day be displaced by another firm — Hopefully you sell your position in it before that happens or we will see a replay of your rants again with Apple as the victim.
Thanks for writing.
I don’t own shares in RIM. I also do not own shares in Apple. I actually own no shares in anything at all: my portfolio is exclusively mutual funds managed arms-length by an adviser. This is to prevent allegations of conflict-of-interest.
Personally, I’m a huge geek. As a result, I’m “platform agnostic.” I don’t care who makes my technology so long as it works – and works well. For years BlackBerry was running on outdated technology. Then Apple came along with iPhone and Jim Balsillie dismissed the device as a “toy.” Mike Lazaridis said BlackBerry would never have a colour screen because it sucks battery life. These were two massive red flags.
Moore’s Law has been proven: and is used extensively to predict the future direction of technology (like longer battery life and higher quality colour screens). Both Mike and Jim should have known this. But RIM consistently skated to where the puck was, not where the puck would be. And for that, the company has suffered massive market share losses all while Balsillie and Lazaridis laughed their way into the billionaires club. Jim failed to build a company that “scaled” to its size today – Balsillie hired a blubbering mass of middle management and yes-men and banging down the NHL’s door for a team – long after the hockey world decided he was a boor who would never get one. Lazaridis sat on his laurels and failed to innovate. After moving from pagers to handsets, all he did was copy: the flip phone, the touch screen. All of these were ideas expertly crafted by others yet shoe-horned into RIM’s existing model.
Today it’s a bad-news, story, indeed. But if I instead “encouraged” the company rather than “pan” it, I wouldn’t be doing my job: shining the light on the dark corners.
I guarantee you the day Apple’s hubris blinds it to the realities of the marketplace, I’ll be the first one to put the hard questions to the analysts leading the cheers. Again: I’m not pro-Apple, I’m pro-good technology. Apple is best-in-class today. And if the BlackBerry 10 devices provide a strong web browsing experience with a robust developer platform for apps, I’ll support the company. If Apple blows its massive lead in tablets, I’ll ask the hard questions.
It wasn’t that long ago Apple was left for dead and now it’s the world’s most powerful company. If RIM manages to find a dynamic leader whose vision can foresee where that “puck” is going then it’s got a shot at glory again, too.
But I’ll never be a cheerleader. After abandoning Apple in the 1990s (I sold my G3 to build a Windows XP-based PC!) it earned-back my respect. RIM lost it. We’ll find out this fall if it can regain it.
Thank you for voicing your concerns.
I understand your frustration – I share it. If there’s anything my media brain likes more than a bad news story is a “local boy makes good” story and RIM’s fall from grace makes good news, but it’s heart crushing. If you think the news I’m reporting is negative, your stomach would do back-flips over the news I’m not reporting either because I don’t have multiple sources or my insider sources would be revealed by my reporting. The hubris that led the company to its present state upsets me greatly as a Canadian – but likely not as much as it does you as an investor in the company. And as such, you should be calling for the heads of the company’s bloated co-founders. Those were the only two job cuts the company truly needed in 2011.
PS – I’ve got high ranking family at RIM. It’s a personal story for me, too.
PPS – In the interest of full disclosure, I’m posting both your email (name redacted) and my response to my Facebook page.