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Anonymous letter bemoans RIM management woes

A reportedly high-ranking employee has posted an open letter criticizing the current management at the BlackBerry maker and suggests changes to return RIM to its former glory.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg
3 min read


An anonymous Research In Motion employee has penned a devastating open letter to the company's senior management.

The letter was posted on Boy Genius Report by a reportedly "high-ranking" employee who bemoans the company's current "chaotic" transition period. (Boy Genius Report said it has verified the identity of the writer.) The writer's main objective is getting co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to seriously consider his or her suggestions to stop RIM's slide into irrelevance in the mobile industry.

The beginning of the letter:

I have lost confidence.

While I hide it at work, my passion has been sapped. I know I am not alone -- the sentiment is widespread and it includes people within your own teams.

Mike and Jim, please take the time to really absorb and digest the content of this letter because it reflects the feeling across a huge percentage of your employee base. You have many smart employees, many that have great ideas for the future, but unfortunately the culture at RIM does not allow us to speak openly without having to worry about the career-limiting effects.

Before I get into the meat of the matter, I will say I am not part of a large group of bitter employees wishing to embarrass us. Rather, I believe these points need to be heard and I desperately want RIM to regain its position as a successful industry leader. Our carriers, distributors, alliance partners, enterprise customers, and our loyal end users all want the same thing...for BlackBerry to once again be leading the pack.

The rest of the letter contains a litany of complaints, but has a decidedly hopeful tone. The writer is clearly engaged in the industry and wants to see the company be successful.

He or she seems to know the company inside and out, calling for better marketing of products, accountability for failure, and input from employees. The letter writer complains that "almost every" project is behind schedule--likely a reference to many forthcoming BlackBerry phones having been delayed at the expense of rushing RIM's first tablet out the door earlier this year.

The writer requests RIM stop making product decisions based on carrier or retailer requests, but on what customers would actually want. "We simply have to admit that Apple is nailing this," the employee notes. The letter's author says RIM needs to recruit "heavy hitters" in the world of software management, cut projects, and reach out to developers. The writer adds that it's a pain for developers to work with RIM: "Our SDK / development platform is like a rundown 1990's Ford Explorer. Then there's Apple, which has a shiny new BMW M3...just such a pleasure to drive."

The letter also directly addresses Lazaridis and Balsillie on the recent calls that the two split the co-CEO and co-chairman titles. The author encourages the two to listen to the suggestions, which have been made by RIM investors and two different major shareholder advisory firms recently.

"There is no shame in no longer being a CEO. Mike, you could focus on innovation. Jim, you could focus on our carriers/customers...They are our lifeblood."

RIM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company's most recent earnings call revealed that Lazaridis and Balsillie seem disconnected with the realities of the mobile industry and how its products are viewed. This letter indicates that the pair may also be out of touch with how low the morale of its employees has dipped.