RIM internal warfare goes public

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By Richi Jennings (@richi) - July 1, 2011.

Research In Motion (TSE:RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM) has hit back at calls for the resignation of co-CEOs Jim 'ballsy' Balsillie and Mike 'the lizard' Lazaridis. Yesterday's anonymous missive from "a high-level employee" at the company prompted a furious reaction from Waterloo. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers sit back and break out the popcorn.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Mexican cannibalism: the proof!..

Matt Hamblen reports:

RIM told [us] it is in the process of streamlining ... and that RIM's management team "takes these challenges seriously." ... The letter was critical of ... Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, suggesting they step aside for not recognizing the threat of the iPhone ... among other problems.

  ... RIM said it was difficult to address anonymous commentary ... "It is particularly difficult to believe that a 'high-level employee' ... would choose to anonymously publish a letter on the Web rather than engage ... in a constructive manner. ... It is fair to say that the senior management team at RIM is nonetheless fully aware of ... the company's challenges and its opportunities."  

  Zach Epstein's boss, Jonathan S. Geller first published the open letter:

The letter, which was written by a senior RIM executive, pleads with the company’s upper management to make some drastic changes. ... After questioning the authenticity of the letter — and we assure you, it is indeed genuine ... — [the] RIM ... response goes on to take an extremely defensive stance, listing various reasons that RIM is still in a strong position. ...

  "The company is thankfully in a solid business and financial position to tackle the opportunities ahead with a solid balance sheet ... strong profitability ... and substantial international growth. ... [W]hile growth has slowed in the US, RIM still shipped ... about 100 smartphones per minute, 24 hours per day."  

But Corina 'corecorina' Newby scoffs at RIM's response:

... this just proves that the letter was on point. Your employees don't feel their opinions are valued enough. ... Do you honestly believe that a high level employee has never brought up any of these concerns internally? ... [T]his open letter was [probably] the best way for them to get your attention - and it worked.  

And then this happened, as Matt Hartley reports:

[RIM] will create a committee that will examine possible changes to its corporate structure, including ... separating the co-chairman and co-chief executive roles of its leaders ... after an shareholder group threatened to put forth a motion ... at the company’s forthcoming annual general meeting.


RIM’s board of directors will establish a “Committee of independent directors” to examine several issues related to the governance of Canada’s top technology company.  

  Dieter Bohn is drunk from the RIM-news firehose:

Waterloo continues to be a font of corporate strangeness today. ... [I]t’s one crazy time to have a either financial or emotional stake in RIM.

  ... this committee strikes us as a pretty sweet deal for Mike and Jim. [It] can “study” all the way until January 31st, 2012, at which point RIM’s board will have 30 days to respond. ... [W]hen your starting point is “clarifications of the Co-CEOs and Chair roles” ... and your ending point is a board peopled with the very people under discussion ... a status-quo outcome starts to feel pretty likely. And nobody knows “status-quo” like RIM.  

  And Finally...
Mexican cannibalism: the proof!
Bonus link: Hitler Rants About Facebook and Google Plus [subtitles may offend]

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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