RIM's Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie step down

Not exactly a surprise move, but Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie leaving their positions as joint chief executives of RIM, maker of the BlackBerry, is certainly significant, both for the company and the wider mobile market.

'There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognise the need to pass the baton to new leadership,' Mike Lazaridis said at a press conference at RIM's headquarters in Waterloo, Canada. 'Jim and I went to the board and told them that we thought that time was now.'

So that's two out and one in – although new CEO Thorsten Heins perhaps isn't the 'new broom' that the company's investors have been craving. Mr Heins is a RIM man, having been at the company since 2007 and since August last year, has been the COO. Prior to his stint at RIM, he was at Siemens Communications.

In a statement, Mr Heins said: 'As with any company that has grown as fast as we have, there have been inevitable growing pains. We have learned from those challenges and, I believe, we have and will become a stronger company as a result.'

Whether the managerial musical chairs will have any effect isn't clear. On the face of it, this is nothing radical. The former CEOs are still with the company and the current top man has been part of the 'thinking' that took RIM to where it is today.

RIM and its BlackBerry platform have certainly suffered over recent years, with the battle between iOS and Android having the side effect of squeezing the BlackBerry out. That's not been helped by a lack of real innovation for its own platform. The much-hyped, all-new BlackBerry 10 smartphones are unlikely to be seen until late 2012, which means we're stuck with variations of BlackBerry 7 for some time. The latest of which is BlackBerry 7.1.

The PlayBook is still struggling to convince tablet buyers too. There's now a lower price and a new operating system incoming, specifically PlayBook OS 2.0. But with a regular onslaught of Android tablets and a new iPad just around the corner, you wouldn't bet on it making huge inroads into the market anytime soon. Throw in major outages of its service, which severely dented consumer confidence, and you can see what kind of job Heins now faces.

We wish him all the luck in the world. In a fast-moving mobile market and with little genuinely new product anytime soon, he probably needs it.

Source: BBC

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