If I had a chance to give beleaguered RIM one piece of advice, it would be this: Stop! Stop the scattergun of conflicting messages you’re sending, step away from the mic, cancel all the ads and the ill-conceived publicity stunts and think for a minute. Figure out what it is you’re trying to do. Because RIM, you’re confusing the hell out of us.
An ad that RIM has been running frequently here in Canada features a young music producer, I think meant to impress us as being hip, professional, very busy and social media savvy. The central claim of the ad is that she responds to 1000 emails a day — “try doing that on a touchscreen”. The idea of somebody actually attempting to meaningfully respond to 1000 emails a day on any device is ridiculous. That’s reading and writing one email every 40 seconds for 12 hours straight. It sounds more like one of the seven circles of Hell than a career. OK, so the premise is a bit flawed as something to aspire to, but the takeaway — you need a physical keyboard, that’s good for RIM, right?
Enter Thorsten Heins, RIM CEO, introducing Blackberry 10 at Blackberry World 2012. And what is Thorsten holding proudly for all to see? An alpha version of the new touchscreen BB10. Wait, what?!
Eventually it was clarified that there would also be new BB10 devices with physical keyboards, but the seeds of confusion had been sown.
Next came the news that RIM would ensure that any developer of an approved app would recoup at least $10,000, guaranteed. RIM will pay your development costs (at least $10K of them) if you would please consider developing for their new OS. That doesn’t sound desperate, does it?
Later in the week, the revelation that the lame publicity stunt featuring a hired flash-mob dressed in black outside an Australian Apple Store holding signs reading “wake up”, was in fact organized by RIM. Facepalm. I think they’d have been better off letting people keep believing it was Samsung that came up with that clunker. Wake up to what, exactly?
The messages being sent by RIM to potential customers are contradictory, confusing and ultimately very damaging. They’ve got to get a handle on their communications, and soon. It gives the impression of a company that is not sure what its core business is – a rudderless ship aimlessly exploring a sea of possibilities. In reality, their situation is probably considerably more urgent than that. I thought John Gruber got it right on The Talk Show with his analogy of RIM being like an airplane in a dive heading straight for the ground. His question was, is there still enough space between them and the ground to pull up in time? I wonder that too.
Like this? More from the technology category.
Follow me on Twitter (@intudes) for interesting links and occasional observations.
Subscribe to the RSS feed, and don’t miss another post.