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RIM Needs More Than Just a New CEO

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BLACKBURIED
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Congratulations, Research in Motion (RIMM). After suffering under the misguided and wildly myopic leadership of co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, you've finally broken free of their dual destructive tutelage.

Announced during the heated match-up between the 49ers and Giants -- perhaps a fitting analogy for the battle between Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) -- RIM's much maligned co-CEOs will be stepping down to make way for a single chief, former COO of Product Engineering, Thorsten Heins. And, as previously suspected, board member Barbara Stymiest will take over as chairwoman of the board.

For years, ever since the introduction of the first iPhone and Android's emergence, RIM has fallen out of favor with the public. The writing was on the wall two years ago, but Balsillie Lazaridis stayed the course, refused to innovate, pushed sub par devices, bled developers, infuriated employees, and -- adding brutal insult to a series of injuries -- blamed the public for RIM's poor performance and congratulated each other for a job well done.

Balsillie and Lazaridis needed to get booted, but that needed to happen two years ago. Their replacement is inheriting a broken company, and from the sound of things, he doesn't think much needs to be fixed.

In an extremely disconcerting press conference, Heins actually told analysts, "I don't think there is a drastic change needed."

Oh, you don't, Thorsten? Well then, by all means, take the reins and continue to run RIM into the ground.


He went on to say, "If we continue doing well what we're doing, I see no problems with us being in the top three players worldwide in the next years in wireless," and, "At the very core of RIM is the innovation. We always think ahead. We always think forward. We sometimes think the unthinkable. And that is fantastic."

Adding, "We are heading absolutely in the right direction."

This is not a good sign.

Also, take a look at where Heins came from -- Product Engineering. He was in charge of delivering exciting new devices and had the opportunity to blow customers away after the introduction of several incredible devices from Apple and Google. Five amazing iPhones and countless popular Android devices later, RIM is now being one-upped by Nokia (NOK) and Windows Phones (MSFT).

Nevertheless, RIM's new CEO believes the company is headed in the right direction and no drastic change is needed.

However, in Heins' defense, there's not much RIM could do now to right itself. BlackBerry 10 is still slated to come out during the second half of the year, and the company has admitted it's in a holding pattern until then. Think of what Apple and Google will deliver before then. Sure, RIM could potentially fast track the OS and compatible devices, but RIM simply doesn't have the track record to deliver excellence with a rush job.

RIM's development is so far behind that the company will be lucky if it can, at best, match Nokia and Microsoft's efforts nearly a year after the Lumia 800's release. Apple and Google are so far in the lead that even barely keeping up will be a long shot. Between a lack of resources and yet another leader too shortsighted to see RIM's limitations, the hope that the company will soon turn it around is nearly gone.

RIM is flying into the mountain. All it's done is change pilots.

(See also: iPhone Can't Match Android's Versatility, Says Steve Wozniak and Apple Embroiled in iBook Publishing Controversy)

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