I’ve been a Blackberry lover since day one, and for a long time, I loathed each person I saw with an iPhone. In the back of my mind I knew it was pure jealousy, as my good ol’ berry was falling apart in my hands. My carelessness aided in the destruction of this once shiny, new device. At the top of the phone you could see the green circuit board shining through, the plastic covering broke off during an epic fall. But it wasn’t just the physical damage that was driving me to occasionally slam the phone against the wall.

Often the backlight of the phone would choose not to work, leaving me blind and helpless. The pre-installed GPS took at least five minutes just to open, and when it finally did, it was almost impossible to even find your current location let alone try to navigate to a different one. And the internet – ha! – what internet!? Many of the issues I encountered with the phone I blamed on myself for being so slapdash, but some were nothing more than poor service – thanks to RIM.

Speaking of the fraught tech company, let’s look at some facts. In its last quarter, Research In Motion (RIM) accounted for 19 percent of contract manufacturing partner Celestica’s revenue. By the end of 2012, it will account for zero.

This downward spiral should come as no surprise. The company lost $518 million last quarter, and as a result, will have to lay off 6,000 workers, according to the Associated Press. RIM also postponed the release of its Blackberry10 line of phones (until 2013), and saw a 15 percent drop in its stock.

Rim’s CEO Thorsten Heins said that he wants BlackBerry10 to be of the “premier superiority” so there will be no negotiation on quality.

“We could have released BlackBerry 10 as per schedule but since this will be the latest platform for BlackBerry in coming years and apart from excellence we want it to be steady and secure with reliability,” said Heins.

So what does the future hold for this struggling tech company that once dominated the corporate smartphone market?

Well, Heins, the optimistic CEO thinks it’s all rainbows and butterflies. He claims RIM is headed for a rebound, not for death. In an op-ed piece in the Globe and Mail he gave his sanguine opinion, “We expect to empower people as never before.”

If empowering people means sending them out to find a new job, than he’s hit the nail on the head.

It was plain to see that cuts were coming for RIM, as inventory grew and demand for handsets fell. Supplier consolidation typically follows declines in volume, and that’s exactly what’s going on here. Celestica will cease production of the handsets it has been making for RIM over the next three to six months, as RIM streamlines its supply chain.

“We are making changes to our supply chain as part of wider efforts to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of RIM’s operations to help meet our strategic objectives and to deliver long-term value to our stakeholders,” RIM said in a statement.

Effectiveness, huh? I can’t tell you the last time my Blackberry was “effective”.

And so the day finally came, Blackberry in hand, I approached the counter at my cell carrier’s store to purchase a new phone, something without a disruptive, fading service. Although it was hard for me to break free from the email-friendly phone (which actually boasts great battery life when it works), I must tell you – I’m doing just fine with my new addition. Plus, with the not-so-optimistic future of RIM, now is probably the best time to cut the cord.


July 27, 2012