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RIM responds to open letter: We're fine

After an anonymous open letter posting detailed problems with RIM's management, products, and marketing, the company responded with its own unsigned response asserting that things are in good shape.

An open letter posted online today from an anonymous Research In Motion employee begged for accountability, and an admission that things need to change at the BlackBerry maker.

Well, someone at RIM did read it. But the company's subsequent public response did nothing to address any of the letter writer's complaints. Instead RIM's brief, two-paragraph response basically adds up to a dismissive, "we're fine."

First, RIM's official statement calls into question the letter's authenticity (which BGR says it verified). But then goes on to say, "[R]egardless of whether the letter is real, fake, exaggerated or written with ulterior motivations, it is fair to say that the senior management team at RIM is nonetheless fully aware of and aggressively addressing both the company's challenges and its opportunities."

Note that RIM also said that it was difficult to directly address "anonymous commentary," yet did not attribute its response to anyone. The earlier anonymous letter was addressed to RIM's senior management, but the company's statement doesn't give any indication how anyone in senior management or specifically co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie feel about the accusations or solutions offered.

The challenges referred to in RIM's response are behind them, the company asserts. The statement spends a lot of time on the defensive, noting that it's "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." Then there are a lot of numbers thrown out, showing how RIM has lots of cash, no debt, hundreds of millions in profits, and shipped "100 smartphones per minute" last quarter.

In other words, it doesn't directly address any of the original letter writer's pleas to fix the systemic problems he or she sees with RIM's management, culture, innovation, and developer and customer relations.

Outside observers of the company can see that RIM is getting outpaced by Apple and Google in the mobile world. RIM clearly doesn't, or won't admit that they do too.