If Taiwan’s NMA animation studio is to be believed, RIM’s “CrackBerry” died a brutal death at the hands of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who got a generation of cellphone users hooked on his iPhone before he took out the BlackBerry in a drive-by shooting.
NMA, which has made a name for itself in recent years by creating CGI cartoons of news events, pulls no punches in its 80-second-long summary of RIM’s problems, riffing off the old “CrackBerry” meme that was popular in the first half of the last decade, when the BlackBerry dominated the smartphone world.
The video begins with a business executive “shooting up” his BlackBerry in a bathroom, heroin-style.
But it’s Steve Jobs who takes the biggest satirical hit in this video.
“Things started to change in 2007, when a new drug hit the streets,” the video states. (Apple’s iPhone was released in 2007.) It then shows an animated Steve Jobs enticing cellphone users into an alley to take a hit off an iPhone.
Later in the video, Jobs is seen pumping a BlackBerry full of lead in a drive-by shooting.
Waterloo, Ontario, the site of RIM headquarters, is depicted as a war-torn wasteland that is conquered by an iPhone riding a tank.
The satirical video was released Monday, a few days after RIM announced disastrous first-quarter results that saw the company fall to a $518 million loss, far steeper than analysts had expected.
RIM also announced last week it is delaying its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system, along with the phones expected to run them, to 2013. Some analysts have since suggested that the delay will put RIM so far behind competitors like Apple that the new operating system may never see light of day.
But the BlackBerryOS blog published on Monday what it says is a leaked copy of RIM’s product roadmap. It shows the company planning to release five new smartphone models, mostly throughout 2013, with a new 4G version of its PlayBook tablet coming at the end of this year.
That the company continues to plan for the future even as its market share erodes has encouraged some investors and worried others. In remarks designed to assure markets, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said in a CBC interview Tuesday that there is “nothing wrong” with the company as it exists.
However, that choice of words was negatively received by many observers, who say RIM’s leadership is failing to face up to the company’s problems.
Market Share Eroding
RIM experienced trouble competing in the U.S. smartphone market in early 2011 and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/03/rim-market-share_n_871129.html?ir=Canada" target="_hplink">dropped from second place to third</a>, as Google's Android and Apple's iPhone gathered steam. The company's shares decreased 40 per cent in value since February,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/03/rim-market-share_n_871129.html?ir=Canada" target="_hplink"> Reuters reported in June</a>.
When facing leaner times in July, the struggling tech company <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/07/25/rim-to-cut-2000-jobs_n_908392.html" target="_hplink">announced its plan to cut 11 per cent of its workforce</a>, or about 2,000 employees, in an attempt to scale back.
To add insult to injury, millions of BlackBerry users around the world <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/12/blackberry-outage-rim_n_1006691.html?ir=Canada" target="_hplink">experienced network outages</a>, resulting in messaging and browsing delays in October 2011. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/13/rim-blackberry-outage_n_1008424.html" target="_hplink">posted an apology to YouTube</a> promising improvements to the system.
Following disappointing PlayBook sales resulting in <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/02/rim-playbook-485-million-charge_n_1125380.html" target="_hplink">huge profit losses</a>, RIM <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/28/blackberry-playbook-best-buy_n_1116532.html?ir=Canada" target="_hplink">slashed its tablet prices down to $199</a>, which prompted a major pre-Christmas rush. However, customers became outraged when Best Buy, unable to keep up with demand, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/28/blackberry-playbook-best-buy_n_1116532.html?ir=Canada" target="_hplink">reportedly cancelled existing orders and removed the PlayBook from its website</a> when it ran out of stock. In early January, RIM <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/03/blackberry-playbook-price-rim_n_1181167.html?ir=Canada" target="_hplink">put its struggling PlayBook tablet on sale</a> again in the U.S. for $299.
Mere days before RIM named Thorsten Heins as its new CEO, Samsung <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/17/samsung-rim-buyout_n_1210958.html?ir=Canada" target="_hplink">denied rumours</a> that it planned to purchase RIM or license its operating system, causing RIM shares to dip.
May was not a kind month to RIM. Soon after the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/28/karima-bawa-research-in-motion_n_1550984.html" target="_hplink"> departure of the company's chief legal officer</a>, Karima Bawa, the company announced that it would hiring two financial firms to advise on the company's financial performance.
If the announcement of the necessary outside help wasn't bad enough, numerous reports surfaced regarding RIM's massive layoffs during the end of May. The cuts were estimated at laying off <a href="http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/layoffs+could+many+employees/6689699/story.html" target="_hplink">anywhere from 2000 - 6000 workers.</a>