While Research in Motion "is a very professionally run company with hard working and relatively motivated people," its leaders are out of touch with consumers, a former employee tells Business Insider.
According to BI's Jay Yarow, the business site received an anonymous email from a former RIM worker -- who insists he's not a bitter ex-employee -- offering insights into why the formerly dominant smartphone maker is in what some think may be a death spiral.
(Also see: RIP, RIM)
RIM on Thursday announced poor fiscal first-quarter results and sharply revised downward its earnings forecast for the full year. Shares of RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) plunged more than 23 percent in Friday trading to 27.08, their lowest price since September 2006.
Speaking of co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, BI's source writes:
"The problem is that they brim with hubris regarding their success in the corporate market and are culturally blind to the gaping holes in their armour regarding consumer. They honestly think they understand consumer product, business, mentality, marketing - but they really don't."
Worse, the writer tells BI, "It's not so much that they are 'weak' in some areas ... it's that they don't recognize that they are."
The former employee, who emphasizes that he is a "proud Canadian," goes on to cite some cultural problems as well, essentially calling the company and its attitude provincial.
"Most of the design decisions at RIM are made by 50 something engineers, otherwise highly accomplished and credible in the field of engineering. But since they've lived most of their lives in the rural areas of Southern Ontario, and don't have any real background or even social sensibility for culture, design and such issues, they're woefully unqualified for the task of aesthetic judgement."
Getting back to the hubris thing, recent comments from RIM's co-CEOs would seem to support the former employee's contention. Here are some statements from Thursday's conference call:
"RIM has taken a unique path and the reason why we do things might not always be obvious from the outside." -- Mike Lazaridis"We’re changing the world." -- Lazaridis
You see, the dimwits in the media and on Wall Street just can't comprehend our subtle brilliance and world-changing ways!
From Thursday's earnings release:
"RIM’s business is profitable and remains solid overall..."
And back in September, discussing the planned BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, Balsillie told the Associated Press:
"Much of the market has been defined in terms of how you fit the Web to mobility. What we're launching is really the first mobile product that is designed to give full Web fidelity."
Now that the idiots have had their fun, RIM will show them all how to make a Web-ready tablet! (Hopefully people won't need to check their email on it, though.)
Business Insider's email correspondent concludes by maintaining that RIM's "stock is woefully undervalued right now" and that "if they can deliver a few world-class handsets, get their marketing and branding act together, the rest will take care of itself."
And if it can't, it's toast. Which, based on the company's performance under the Hubris Twins, is a much more likely scenario.