RIM responds to critical open letter from unnamed worker

BlackBerry maker claims 'excitement and optimism' within ranks

Research in Motion questioned the authenticity of an open letter posted today that bashed RIM management, saying also that there is "excitement and optimism" within its ranks.

RIM told Computerworld by email that it is in the process of streamlining its operations and that RIM's management team "takes these challenges seriously and is actively addressing the situation."

The blistering letter was posted on the BGR website anonymously on Thursday, but BGR said it verified it was written by a high-level RIM worker.

The letter was critical of RIM Co-CEO's Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, suggesting they step aside for not recognizing the threat of the iPhone on BlackBerry smartphones, among other problems.

In response, RIM said it was difficult to address anonymous commentary, adding, "It is particularly difficult to believe that a 'high-level employee' in good standing with the company would choose to anonymously publish a letter on the Web rather than engage their fellow executives in a constructive manner."

RIM's response adds: "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."

RIM said it is "thankfully in a solid business and financial position to tackle the opportunities ahead." It mentioned having no debt with nearly $3 billion in cash, a strong profit of $695 million in the last quarter and 67% growth in international revenue in the first quarter over the same quarter in 2011.

RIM also said it is shipping about 100 smartphones each minute, 24 hours a day. That number is based upon the 13.2 million BlackBerry devices shipped in the first quarter.

The 13.2 million smartphones shipped was down from the original expectation of 14.5 million for the quarter, a reduction that helped create a strong market reaction that led RIM's stock price to tumble by more than 15% when the quarter was reported on June 16.

RIM's statement also said it had undergone a period of hyper growth over five years, during which RIM quadrupled in size, leading to the need to streamline operations.

RIM discussed job cuts in its June quarter report, but did not offer many details.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at  @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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