Following a very horrible no good quarterly earnings report, Research in Motion had its annual shareholders meeting today, and announcing some strange steps to fix its bedraggled BlackBerry business. At the meeting, CEO Thorsten Heins gave a ra-ra speech where he said he would turn the company into a "lean, mean, hunting machine." How? "The management team and I have already instituted some major changes this year and there will be more to come as we work to turn around the company’s performance." Change is a good word for a company that failed because it opted not to get with the times. Yet, these new moves by Heins and the company feel out of sorts.
Change #1: A board election
Why this needs changing: The current board is getting flack for getting RIM into its current sad state of affairs. "I am extremely … extraordinarily critical of the board," one shareholder said during the the meeting today. "I don’t think any of the old board members should still be on the board. RIM’s decline has been occurring for years. Why did they let it get out of hand? How could they allow things to get so bad before doing anything about it?" "What this company needs is an upheaval," said another.
How RIM decided to do it: This is actually a non change, change. Though chairwoman Barbara Stymiest acknowledged the board issues, saying the company his hired a search firm to put tech savvy people on its board, RIM went and reelected its board.
Change #2: Liquidate assets
Why this needs changing: RIM is losing so much money it has opted to sell one of its two corporate jets, hoping it will help save the company $1 billion. It's hoping the nine-passenger Dassault Aviation SA (DSY) F50EX will get it $6 million to $7 million.
How RIM decided to do it: We're sure those 5,000 people who got laid off might have appreciated the corporate jet sale before they got canned. RIM will still have its other 14 person jet.
Change #3: Invest in developers
Why this needs changing: Now that it's so behind in the smartphone market, the long awaited BlackBerry 10 will need apps developed by developers to make it popular.
What RIM decided: Only once it is stuck in a financial hole, after putting off the release of BlackBerry 10 again, the company decides to invest $100 million in developers. TechCrunch asks "too little, too late?" Sounds like yes.
All this backwardness doesn't really surprise, though. The company took its first stumbles when it got the future of phones all wrong, predicting touch screens and iPhones would never take off. The company doesn't look any more progressive today.