That’s a brutal decline, but in reality it’s probably not enough.
Does anyone think RIM is ever going to deliver a product that beats back Apple or Google?
Nobody but RIM execs, it seems.
On yesterday’s call with analysts we were treated to another round of overly optimistic talk from co-CEO Jim Balsillie on the future of the company’s platform.
Before you read the excerpt below, keep in mind this is the same man who promised a product that would be a “quantum leap” ahead of all the competition in January 2010.
Here’s are excerpts of the transcript of yesterday’s call about the future of RIM’s platform (via Bloomberg):
Co-CEO Jim Balsillie: …I mean, stay tuned. The products are truly fantastic both in terms of their style and their performance. The issue is, I would have liked to have them sooner. Then it would’ve changed – I mean, there’s a natural ageing and there is a natural transition to newer products. And this is such a comprehensive transition for us. So it’s a big transition; there’s no question it’s going to happen, it’s done and the products are working; there’s a debugging cycle and there’s a certification cycle and that will always put you at risk in or out a couple weeks, and the farther back you are that is in or out a couple months.
But there’s no question the products are beautiful and there’s no question they’re going to happen and there’s no question the interest is high. But, there’s always a transition in higher-end products that shows up in margin and channel sell-through with ageing, and you count on your newer products to come in and because this is such a substantial upgrade, you’ve seen it with the PlayBook, you’re going to see it with the 7.0 products, that that has taken more time.
But it doesn’t change fundamentally the interest, doesn’t change the strategy, doesn’t change the opportunity. It simply impacts the timing. All things being equal we would love these in the market earlier and not be having this call.
And from later in the call, he explains why they’re taking so long to hit the market.
They’re complex products. But I mean, I sort of gave you a bit of a hit here that – I mean, BlackBerry 7.0, it’s got liquid graphics, it’s got a super enhanced browser, it’s got a new fluid touch screen interface and UI, it’s got graphics acceleration for gaming, it’s got faster hardware, higher memory, improved battery life and wait till you see some of the styling. And then you see where that is, you’re seeing where the PlayBook is, then you’re going to see some interesting things next week on that, that leverages these architectures with our infrastructure in ways that maybe you hadn’t quite thought of, and you realise that we’re positioning this so that for the next 10 years this is going to be a fantastic opportunity to be at the epicentre of the portable and mobile transformation that we’re seeing.
So, we absolutely are committed to and want to be there. I mean, I really have to say, I mean, yes, this is a transition, yes, all things being equal we would like this stuff to be earlier. But when you look at the performance of the PlayBook and you guys have done your channel checks and you’ve seen how it performs and people can make comments, oh, is it all polished or all that, but nobody doubts the absolute performance of that machine and what can be done.
And so we’ve put ourselves and you’ve seen all the flashes and the speed and portability and the enterprise. So we have actually put this company straight in the middle of the whole tablet mobile computing space. And we absolutely have the whole next generation of BlackBerry smartphones. And so strategically, we feel fantastic. Operationally, I don’t like the fact that this stuff is pushed out so that you have this transition. We’re communicating it as soon as we get it, we communicate it honestly and forthrightly. In no way shape or form do we feel compromised strategically or do we feel compromised architecturally in where we’re going, but at the end of the day, to hold up the numbers of shipments, we’ve got to have the newer products out there because mix and margin and volume starts to erode at some period of time as it does always.