The scathing open letter penned by what’s said to be a senior RIM exec has accused the company’s co-CEOs of ignoring end users, relentlessly chasing “slightly more volume” at the expense of innovation, and of being blinkered to how “painful” developing for the platform is in comparison to rival OSes. The letter, published at BGR – who say they have verified the exec’s identity – sets out eight key factors that need to change, including rebranding as simply “BlackBerry” so as “to signify our new focus on one QNX product line.”
Among the key complaints are a misguided perception of what appeals to would-be buyers in advertising, such as Flash or “true multitasking.” Instead, the exec suggests, RIM should “obsess” over what’s best for the end-user, “admit that Apple is nailing this” and take advantage of the fact that Android’s “major weakness” is that “it will always lack the simplicity and elegance that comes with end-to-end device software, middleware and hardware control.” RIM should concentrate on bringing new and unique features to its QNX-based platform, soon to show up on phones, rather than simply playing catch-up with features from rivals.
“25 million iPad users don’t care that it doesn’t have Flash or true multitasking, so why make that a focus in our campaigns? I’ll answer that for you: it’s because that’s all that differentiates our products and its lazy marketing. I’ve never seen someone buy product B because it has something product A doesn’t have. People buy product B because they want and lust after product B … BlackBerry Messenger has been our standout, yet we wasted our marketing on strange stories from a barber shop to a horse wrangler.” Anonymous RIM senior exec
As for development, RIM apparently needs a wake-up call. “The truth is, no one in RIM dares to tell management how bad our tools still are” the exec suggests. “Even our closest dev partners do their best to say it politely, but they will never bite the hand that feeds them.” Part of that is giving developers the right tools; “offer shit tools and we shouldn’t be surprised when we see shit apps” it’s suggested.
The full letter is well worth a read, and calls to mind – though in a slightly different way – Stephen Elop’s “burning platform” letter to Nokia employees. “Now would be a great time to internally re-brand and re-energize the workplace” the exec suggests; it remains to be seen whether RIM’s CEOs think the same.