RIM Q&A with Dr. Nick Bontis

Posted by: Nick Bontis on July 25, 2011

RIM Q&A with Dr. Nick Bontis

Layoffs good or bad?

2,000 employee layoffs saves about $200 million in salary per year. Only a drop in the bucket compared to the market cap loss the stock has experienced. So, they are not doing it to save money! I am not a fan of layoffs. I think firms that layoff such large numbers of employees are committing intellectual capital suicide. The talent and expertise that will walk out the door is extremely difficult to replace.

Should they have cut more employees?

There should be no layoffs in my opinion. Instead, create a true meritocratic structure in which you either perform and exceed your targets, or you lose your job. A true Darwinian system of corporate survival.

Did RIM grow too fast?

No one in history has ever complained of growing too fast, and RIM should not complain either. Lots of companies would love to have the same problem. This is not a case of growing too fast, but a case of innovating too slow.

Some executives are now gone, what gives?

Don Morrison is retiring and he was a wonderful executive. I have very high respect for him as one of the originals who was responsible for much of the global expansion of RIM. Patrick Spence is an up-and-coming superstar at RIM! He will do awesome in his new role.

Should B/L step down?

It is extremely difficult for founders to let go of the reins of something they have built from scratch. I don’t envy their position or desire to see their vision through.

Does the Board need an independent Chair?

Absolutely yes! That’s the first rule of good corporate governance … and I volunteer myself as a long-time shareholder.

New products are coming, so?

RIM’s product roadmap is exciting but could eventually be “a little late to the wedding”. The innovation product cycle at RIM has to quicken significantly. New product versions and updates must be systematically launched in 6-9 month cycles at the latest. The smartphone consumer demands it and the smartphone market expects it.

PlayBook approved by Washington

Tablet certification by the US government is huge news! This will definitely bolster the PlayBook’s market position as the “go to” tablet for government clients. This was a similar position that the US government took on the BlackBerry smartphone several years ago which created a huge “artificial monopoly” for several years.

When will PlayBook be updated?

Yes, an updated PlayBook must hit shelves for the “back to school” rush. If not then, by November for the Christmas season.

You still a RIM shareholder?

Yes, the P/E ratio is still attractive.

… my two cents!

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