NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- In 2011, we witnessed two of the greatest non-dot-com stock implosions of all time.It seemed that throughout the year, particularly in the second half of it, Netflix ( NFLX) and Research In Motion ( RIMM) battled for the title of most pathetic.
"For those of us who live outside of Apple's distortion field, we know that 7-inch tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple's attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple ...
"As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story."
- Jim Balsillie, October 2010, from a statement published in Barron's
"You don't need an app for the Web. I don't need a YouTube app to go to YouTube. There's this view that Web sites need to be repurposed for mobile and you need a special set of tools to do it. We don't believe that to be true."Incredible. It really does not get much worse than that. And to think a considerable number of RIMM bulls defended Balsillie all of last year. Some still do. So RIM essentially blows out a couple of nonvisionaries and hires another nonvisionary from within. His grand plan, as Richard Saintvilus points out, is to focus on the low-end mobile market. Although I understand why Richard thinks this is a smart approach, frankly, I am tired of everybody in tech doing either the same or thoroughly boring things.
- Jim Balsillie, November 2010, as quoted in All Things D
Although Nokia ( NOK) and Microsoft ( MSFT) might only be able to come in a not-so-strong No. 3 to Google's ( GOOG) Android and Apple in the smartphone wars, you have to give these companies credit for an aggressive marketing push, what looks to be smart cross-platform integration of Windows and a pretty solid phone in the new Lumia. Although it's not like either company dictates the future like Apple does, at least they see it and are acting accordingly. What RIM needed to do was hire a true visionary, a thinking man, somebody like Reed Hastings, to run the show. Let him dream up the next big idea and let Heins count beans with the CFO, manage the supply chain and discuss maternity-leave policy with HR. It baffles me when I consider the similar, yet drastically different situations RIM and Netflix find themselves in. Netflix has a visionary, yet it refuses to hire a strong COO to run the business and keep the big-picture guy in check. RIM has a guy who can probably do a halfway decent job of running the day-to-day (anything would be an improvement), yet it refuses to bring somebody in with even an ounce of vision. RIM should be throwing truckloads of loonies and toonies at the leading minds who work for companies like Apple and Google. The company might even want to call Hastings and see what he thinks about the prospects of living in southern Ontario. At the time of publication, Pendola owned shares of NOK.