Mike Lazaridis may no longer be one of the front men at Research in Motion but he’s still as ardent as ever in his belief that it can thrive in an iPhone and Android world.
Lazaridis for years was the face of RIM, but after mounting trouble and a push for new leadership to take over, he and fellow co-CEO Jim Balsilli stepped down. The new head of the company is Thorstein Heins, who has a track record of turning companies in the right direction.
Lazaridis’s plan to purchase an additional $50 million in stock to supplement his already vast investment in the company shows that he has no hard feelings and remains a loyal steward of RIM, but it also sort of underlines the problem he had as co-CEO.
Under Lazaridis and Balsilli there seemed to be a sense that RIM could do no wrong. It was too big to fail. It would always have support from fans and large-scale enterprise users. The company would announced new features to its Blackberry OS that Android and iOS had from day one, and expect praise from the world.
The biggest problem RIM faced was not its software; it was its utter denial that it needed radical changes. Even today, the most up-to-date version of Blackberry’s operating system still functions like Blackberrys from the early 2000s. It’s just a new skin. The company needed a massive overhaul long ago.
Lazaridis blindly buying such a massive amount of stock without even knowing what changes Heins will bring to the company is a perfect example of what went wrong in the first place.