The Problem with RIM’s Open Letter Response

Late last week an open letter was posted by a senior RIM employee criticizing the company for not prioritizing the user experience, and including too much corporate red tape to get anything done. A day later RIM posted a short response that only seemed to confirm the criticism that was in the original letter.

The first letter is a complaint on how RIM is too slow to get their products out the door, and spends too much time waiting for things to be approved by upper level management, and the legal department. RIM’s response had nothing to do with their products, and was a meandering discussion of their stock price that was clearly put together by upper level suits, and the company’s legal team. When your response to a far to slow roll out of new devices is that you have $X “billion in cash and no debt” and are “pursuing newer strategic opportunities” there is only more reason to believe that management is in fact getting in the way of the engineers who are trying their best to get great new devices out. Given that you have so “much excitement and optimism” regarding your future products, maybe you should get around to releasing that Bold 9900 you announced a full two months ago. The phone looked ready when you demoed it then, so there is no reason that it shouldn’t be on store shelves by now.

To make things worse, the next day a second anonymous letter came out criticizing amount of influence that AT&T has over the company. RIM’s response to that was to announce that AT&T customers would be charged $20 per month if they used BlackBerry Bridge with their PlayBooks. It is almost as if RIM is trying to come off as clueless.

The good news is that these should not be hard problems to fix. Just get out of your own way and release a new device every now and then. There truly is plenty of reason to be optimistic about RIM’s future product offerings. The question is why are they being forever being kept in a state of “coming soon”?