RIM is rotting from within

Observations of current, former employees paint picture of smugness and complacency

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Shares of Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) predictably plunged early Friday after the BlackBerry maker delivered disastrous third-quarter results and warned of yet another product delay.

RIM's stock dropped as low as 13.12 in morning trading, or 13.3% below Thursday's closing price of 15.13.

No need to rehash the gory details here, because the story is familiar to everyone: RIM continues to lose smartphone market share, it no longer can ship products in a timely fashion, and when it finally does, the product (the PlayBook, for example) is deeply flawed and inferior to the competition's.

Worse, co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie appear oblivious to the gravity of the situation. The ship is sinking, yet to them, the current meltdown is but a bump in the road and a miraculous comeback is always around the corner.

Check out some of their comments in the earnings conference call Thursday:

"We recognize that our shareholders may feel we have fallen short."

"We continue to believe that our transition will better position us to deliver enhanced value to shareholders, and enhance our leading position in the mobile communication space."

May feel we have fallen short? This would be like the coach of the winless Indianapolis Colts saying he can understand why fans "might feel a tad disappointed" in the team's 0-13 record.

Our leading position in the mobile communications space? What?

"While we would have preferred the initial launch to have been smoother, I firmly believe that the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet remains the most secure and most advanced tablet platform on the market today."

Denial and delusion, all in one sentence. It's almost like an SNL skit.

You could do this all day. These guys are just out to lunch.

But I think the problems at RIM go much deeper than Lazaridis and Balsillie, and I can't help but think of the comments by a former employee to Business Insider last June who described the hubris and insular nature of the Ontario-based company, which is far, far from any technology hub that would contain a deep talent pool of developers. Here's one thing the former employee said:

"Most of the design decisions at RIM are made by 50 something engineers, otherwise highly accomplished and credible in the field of engineering.

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