'Almost every project is falling further and further behind schedule...'
Research In Motion's co-CEOs are under renewed pressure following the publication of an open letter from a 'high level' RIM employee criticising the company's strategy and execution.
The letter, published on tech site Boy Genius Report, does not mince its words. "To the RIM Senior Management Team: I have lost confidence. While I hide it at work, my passion has been sapped..."
It goes on to claim that RIM's corporate culture does not encourage staff to speak openly about its problems, and slams the current leadership team's efforts at competing with Apple, Google and others.
"We are in the middle of major “transition” and things have never been more chaotic. Almost every project is falling further and further behind schedule at a time when we absolutely must deliver great, solid products on time."
The letter urges RIM to stop chasing "feature parity" with other platforms, and start innovating based on its QNX technology, and suggests that senior engineers and executives have not taken the time to use iOS and Android devices to fully understand the threat that they pose.
"We need some heavy hitters at RIM when it comes to software management. Teams still aren’t talking together properly, no one is making or can make critical decisions, all the while everyone is working crazy hours and still far behind. We are demotivated."
The letter goes on to criticise RIM's efforts to court developers - "Developing for BlackBerry is painful... Our SDK / development platform is like a rundown 1990's Ford Explorer" and ends by suggesting that RIM's co-CEOs should consider stepping back and hiring a new chief executive.
RIM didn't waste any time reacting to the open letter: the company published a post on its official blog as a direct response. It floats the idea that the letter could be "fake, exaggerated or written with ulterior motivations", but hits back at claims RIM's management is not on the ball.
"RIM recently confirmed that it is nearing the end of a major business and technology transition. Although this transition has taken longer than anticipated, there is much excitement and optimism within the company about the new products that are lined up for the coming months," says the post.
"There is a fundamental business reality however that following an extended period of hyper growth (during which RIM nearly quadrupled in size over the past 5 years alone), it has become necessary for the company to streamline its operations in order to allow it to grow its business profitably while pursuing newer strategic opportunities."
Separately - but very much related - RIM has confirmed that it is setting up a committee of independent directors to study whether it should change its management structure: and particularly the fact that its co-CEOs also chair RIM's board.
The move came as a response to a shareholder proposal from NEI investments for the matter to be discussed at RIM's annual general meeting. NEI Investments has withdrawn the proposal due to the creation of the committee.