RIM’s been forced to defend itself after an open letter purporting to be written by a member of the company’s senior management was published online.
The letter, published in BGR, is a cry for help from an employee who describes the company as ‘chaotic’ and says staff have lost all enthusiasm.
“Almost every project is falling further and further behind schedule at a time when we absolutely must deliver great, solid products on time,” the author writes.
“We urge you to make bold decisions about our organisational structure, about our culture and most importantly our products.”
The company should, he says, focus more on the end-user experience, recruit some senior ‘heavy hitters’ and cut projects to the bone. It should focus on developers, invest more in marketing and improve accountability – “Canadians are too nice,” he says.
Finally, the writer suggests that RIM should treat the press and analysts with “humility with a dash of paranoia”, and take a bit more notice of suggestions from its own staff.
Unusually, RIM has been stung into a detailed response.
It suggests that the letter could be a fake – although GBR claims to have authenticated it – and says everything’s actually fine.
“RIM recently confirmed that it is nearing the end of a major business and technology transition. Although this transition has taken longer than anticipated, there is much excitement and optimism within the company about the new products that are lined up for the coming months,” it says.
“There is a fundamental business reality, however, that following an extended period of hyper growth (during which RIM nearly quadrupled in size over the past 5 years alone), it has become necessary for the company to streamline its operations in order to allow it to grow its business profitably while pursuing newer strategic opportunities.”
It says it’s in a solid business and financial position, with a solid balance sheet, strong profitability and substantial international growth.
But this response may not be enough to satisfy the company’s critics. RIM’s BlackBerry sales are down, and there’s strong suspicion that the company won’t get round to releasing smartphones based on its QNX operating system until well into next year. A broadside from one of its own staff is something the company can ill afford.