Did CEO's Hockey Obsession Doom RIM?
On planet Earth, however, we know that Balsillie was obviously distracted by his hockey forays. In hindsight, it's obvious that the period from October 2006 to June 2009 was when RIM wasn't paying attention to Apple.
Maybe if Jim Balsillie had had his nose to the grindstone at work, RIM could have reacted faster to Apple's competitive threat. Maybe it could have come up with a strategy for mainland China, which still eludes the company today.
Most people agree that RIM didn't really get serious (or desperate) about competing with the iPhone until it bought QNX in April 2010. This is the next-generation operating system for RIM's devices that likely won't hit the market until late 2012.
RIM bought QNX several months after Balsillie finally stopped messing around with hockey and turned his full attention back to the company that gave him the money he had used to try to buy a team.The final chapter has yet to be written for RIM. Maybe QNX will save it. But it'll have a lot less market share next year when it finally shows up to the party. By then, it may be way too late. If RIM does blow up, Balsillie will still have plenty of cash that he's pulled out of the company over the years through stock and stock options -- at least enough to keep buying tickets to hockey games. That will be ice-cold comfort to laid-off RIM employees, however. At the time of publication, Jackson had a bullish position in Apple.
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