I will make no excuses for our past criticism and scrutiny of the Waterloo based Research In Motion. Over the past year they have seen their share price drop $50, from $75+ to a mere $13 recently (two-thirds of the total value). RIM missed crucial deadlines with the PlayBook and then under delivered on its functionality, to the point that they were selling the devices as a big screen companion to one of their aging messaging devices. The Playbook fiasco was so bad that RIM had to release their BlackBerry 6.1 OS release as a full new release in a buggy 7.0 riddled with battery issues and OS lock-ups. They showed their cards far too early with their next generation QNX OS for quad-core BlackBerry and killed off their own sales of the next-gen Bold and Torch devices. Each new iteration of the OS only brought a few key features, features that other Smartphone OS’s have had for years, such as App Stores, WiFi, WiFi HotSpot, the WebKit browser and of course the apps themselves. RIM has always been slow at releasing popular apps Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook took far too long to make in the platform and then other apps like Evernote, Foursquare and AngryBirds where buggy and feature stripped by the time they got there.
Yes we have been harsh on RIM and their product line-up, their failed execution and their incompetent leadership. In our defense, we are Canadian and by definition we are going to hold any other Canadian company up to a very high standard. When Canucks make stuff, we only settle for the best quality and performance possible. Let me explain with a few of our other exports: Hockey, Beer, Maple Syrup, Hydro Electricity, Lumber, Comedians, Space Arms (Canadarm), Skaters, Skiers and Snowboarders and let’s not forget Beavers. We do have some of the best beavers in the world, world-class tree cutting and damn building beavers with beautiful pelts (Read into this any way you like, also see comedians).
Now you may understand why we are all so annoyed that the company that pretty much invented two-way paging and mobile messaging is doing so badly and is in fact unable to do anything to get them out of this infernal pit of abysmal performance. In fact, the only thing that RIM have done properly is allow themselves to be positioned for a foreign hostile take-over without any objection from the Canadian Government which is usually incredibly uptight about letting any homegrown gem go. I suspect that the sour taste of Jim’s failed attempts at bringing another NHL Hockey team back to The Great White North is probably a good enough reason to let the over-ripe Berry go to an Asian consortium. Asia is just about the only place where the BlackBerry still holds a decent market share.
So when the news about the latest Quarterly Reports broke and then the swift dismissal of Jim Balsille from the board, Schultzter asked me why I didn’t pounce on the opportunity to take another dig at Canada’s very own Waterloo. After collecting some info and reading some of the other blogger and analyst pontificate on the State of Blackebery, I decided that I might actually be done with the idea of flog the dead horse one more time. I have come to the same conclusion as our fine Houses of Parliament, it’s time to expatriate RIM. If a Canuck can successfully take over the head of a Finnish landmark and resuscitate the Nokia brand as well as give some street cred to Microsoft and if a bunch of hippies from California can turn an MP3 player in the best-selling and most talked about Smartphone on the market, then I’m ok with letting The Waterloo gang slip out the back door and head on over to Korea.
The opinions expressed above are those of the average Johnny Canuck and do not necessarily reflect those of other Fat Dads and overpaid analysts.