"It's like the Soviet Union. Everybody's Pretending to Work."

Jesse Hicks has produced a phenomenally detailed overview of the rise and fall of RIM for The Verge. Outlining various landmarks, the disastrous PlayBook, and the abdication of the former co-CEOs, Hicks paints a dire picture of the once great company.

Hicks concludes the article by citing a poignant, foreshadowing statement made by Apple's late CEO:

A final analysis comes from the man whose company pulled the rug out from under RIM in 2007. Speaking in late 2010, he said, "They must move beyond their comfort area into the unfamiliar territory in trying to become a software platform company. I think it's going to be a challenge for them to create a competitive platform and to convince developers to create apps for yet a third platform after iOS and Android. With 300,000 apps on Apple's app store RIM has a high mountain ahead of them to climb."

That man, of course, was Steve Jobs.

Definitely worth the read.

RIM to Take $485 Million Q3 Loss

Vlad Savov:

RIM has just come out with a sobering statement ahead of its December 15th earnings report to tell the world that it'll be "recording a pre-tax provision" of $485 million in relation to unsold inventory of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. In simpler terms, that means the company is wiping nearly half a billion dollars off the value of its inventory, simply because it doesn't believe it can recoup it in sales. RIM reiterates that it has "a high level" of unsold PlayBooks in its warehouses and that it intends to continue an aggressive promotional push to get them out and returning at least some sort of revenue.

Thus confirming all of my issues with the Holiday Playbook push (and with RIM in general). Read the full RIM press release here.

That's Enough, RIM

The Playbook is dead.

It's taken a while for you to realize that, and I'm not convinced you're fully aware, but you should really come to acknowledge it, RIM.

QNX is promising, but half-baked in its current form. The platform lacks email, lacks support, and is just generally missing all that makes a tablet a tablet. Yes, it may be in the pipeline, but it's unquestionably late, and very much at the point of irrelevance.

Honestly, when the Playbook was first announced, I was intrigued. Perhaps it was out of some sort of desire to support the underdog, or in appreciation of the intricacies involved in wiping the slate clean and starting over. Regardless, the majority of promises made to investors and consumers alike have fallen short, and the product is fundamentally and irrefutably dead.

Selling it for low sums? Sure it catches headlines, and hey, it worked for HP with the Touchpad stock clearance, but really, what long-term benefit do you see aside from getting rid of surplus units? If anything, you're going to rope some Christmas shoppers into buying the Playbook, and then you'll just have a larger group of people complaining about the platform. Moreover, if you're hoping for some sort of platform revival, you're dreaming.

Bargain hunters are not going to pick up a Playbook and say, "Wow! I can't believe everyone spoke so negatively about this!" They're going to say, "Well it looks a lot like a Kindle Fire, but it has none of the functionality." Considering the Kindle Fire came so long after the Playbook, but is already becoming such a household name, that's just embarrassing.

Stop pushing a dead product. Cut your losses and leave it be. 

I have no doubt that QNX is promising, but why on Earth would you push it when it's not even compatible with your flagship email software? Why would you build Android emulation when you're looking to develop your own App Store?

The whole project screams of mismanagement, and it's time to stop. Stop trying to peddle subpar products to the unsuspecting Christmas shopper, stop advertising it, and stop defending it. 

There's so many valuable lessons to be taken from this -- the Playbook is practically a how-to guide on how not to bring a product to market. Take what you've learned, take the injuries, regroup, and work out how to build a sturdy product. The leaked Blackberry London looks like a step in the right direction, and you're evidently not rushing it to market. So do yourselves a favor and do not announce it until it's finished. Build something impressive. Surprise your market, and make a come back. 

RIM, you used to be so promising. Your smartphones were the envy of many. And you do, indeed, still have a devoted fan base. But if you continue down this path, it will not end well. Don't rely on those users to stay, and don't assume your corner of the enterprise market is firm.

I have faith you will mount an offensive in the coming months, but it won't happen with half-baked ideas and good intentions. Build the best you can -- I know it is more than what we see on the market today.

Just cut your losses and start afresh.

Obviously it's easier said than done, but really, what other options do you have?