Last Week in Mobile: RIM’s Balsillie Resigns

Corey is the Director of Online Strategy and Alliances at Toronto startup ContactMonkey, a service that makes it easy to share your contact information online. He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Toronto-based mobile blog TheCellularGuru. Corey is a seasoned salesman with an abundance of tech experience who is passionate about networking, community-building, and Web 2.0 technologies. Find Corey online viaTwitterFacebookLinkedIn and ContactMonkey.

This last week in mobile was an interesting one. Instead of delving head first into everything, I am going to focus on the nitty-gritty and talk about one of the most important announcements of the week, which also happened to be a milestone in Canadian technology: the formal resignation of Jim Balsillie from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM.TO). It came just shy of the three-month mark that Jim and his co-CEO Mike Lazaridis handed the CEO reigns over to Thorsten Heins; something that shocked analysts, investors,and, of course, bloggers.

Since the step-down, Jim has been sitting as an advisor on RIM’s board of directors.

But, in all fairness, what does this change mean to you, the unsuspecting reader/consumer? Frankly, it means everything. It means the once visionary – now outdated – overzealous egos that ran the ship, both successfully and subsequently almost under, are out. It means open-minded change and direction can now come to the beloved BlackBerry brand. Mr. Heins has already stated that if the shoe fit, he wouldn’t ignore the idea of licensing out BB10 (or BBM for that matter) – an idea long-desired by the iOS/Android community. Most of all, however, it means a new breath of life – something else that has been long overdue.  

This past year was a notoriously bumpy one for the Waterloo-based tech giant; a fledgling, half-baked PlayBook launch, followed by delays of their current flagship device (the Bold 9900), and finally a stock price that hit an all-time low. Users and analysts were both losing faith and RIM realized that something needed to be done. 

I hope you now realize not only why the change had to happen, but more importantly why Jim Balsillie (and of course Mike Lazaridis) deserves all the respect and accolade he has coming to him.

At the very least, Jim and Mike collectively changed the way we communicate with each other. 

Balsillie was quoted saying:

“As I complete my retirement from RIM, I’m grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success.” – MobileSyrup

You see, despite the negative banter going on, put yourself in their shoes. You’ve just watched your baby – the brand you helped build from nothing into a publicly traded entity – reach the peak of its potential, then subsequently fall from the ranks, fast. It lost both its popularity as well as OS market placement – neither can be easy to oversee. Nevertheless, the two have maintained cool heads and despite a few PR blunders, have/had stayed positive.

As a Canadian tech lover I will always have a soft spot for my BlackBerry and wish RIM the best with the forthcoming launch of their BlackBerry 10 OS under the new guidance of Thorsten Heins. That being said, I also wish Mr. Balsillie the best of luck with his life after RIM and want him to know that he is admired and respected for what he did for Canada, not only from a business perspective, but of course for the technology he helped innovate.