Thursday, August 02, 2012

RIM's Options

"Getting it" is not enough. It is said the top people at Sony all "get it." They all know exactly what needs to be done. But the dysfunctional corporate culture gets in the way. When a company is on a downswing much damage gets done to its corporate culture. A turnaround is not just about "getting it."

I don't have any particular insight into where RIM's corporate culture stands today. But as for vision, there seem to be a few options.

The obvious one is to claw back into the smartphone space. How do you do that? Do you get rid of the physical keyboard? What do you do? How do you compete with the iPhone? Do you ditch the keyboard a-n-d jump onto the Android bandwagon? And become a hardware company? I don't think that is in the cards. RIM wants to continue doing both hardware and software. Well, first, it wants to survive.

Is there room? Is there room in the smartphone space for a Nokia? A Microsoft? A RIM? How do you differentiate? Those are hard questions I don't have answers for.

Another option would be to take RIM's resources and go into something else. Do a fundamental rethink and become a company that produces something else. Or break the company into a hundred different startups.

When Steve Jobs went back to Apple he did not try to win the PC war. He instead created the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. There is always that next big thing.

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