The Horse or the Rider?

So there’s a new CEO at RIM  –  accompanied by reports that although RIM has changed bosses, it’s still following the same strategy. Let’s hope this is strong enough to pull back from the brink – which begs the question – if it is, why change leaders?

This reminds me of the old-but-good “strategy for dealing with a dead horse”:

  1. Buy a stronger whip
  2. Change riders
  3. Say things like “This is the way we always have ridden this horse”
  4. Appoint a committee to study the horse
  5. Arrange to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses
  6. Increase the standards to qualify as a dead horse rider
  7. Appoint a tiger team to revive the dead horse
  8. Put in place a task force to review the definition of “dead”
  9. Unilaterally declare “no horse is too dead to beat”
  10. Blame the horse’s parents
  11. Provide additional funding to increase the horse’s performance
  12. Do a Cost Analysis Study to see if contractors can ride the horse cheaper
  13. Declare the horse is “better, faster and cheaper” dead
  14. Revisit the performance requirements for horses
  15. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position

The sudden departure of Jim and Mike from RIM’s helm is also a reminder that today’s Colossus straddling the world is tomorrow’s ancient wonder. Just three years ago, Nokia was top dog and RIM had the corporate mobile market sewn up.

Then along came Apple – it was really only with the iPhone 4 that it managed to penetrate corporates and start dislodging the Canadians. And now, Apple’s been overtaken by Android, with Samsung leading the way.

RIM’s news is a sobering reminder to the new kings of the mobile world that although you might get a spectacular view from on top, there are challengers waiting in the wings.  Mobile World Congress next month in Barcelona will yield some clues as to who are the serious challengers: I’m taking an early bet on ZTE…

Simon Jones, Managing Director – OnPR, GmbH

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