I have been cutting Research In Motion
I'm done defending Lazaridis now. Onstage at this week's Dive Into Mobile industry conference, he came across more as a clueless spin-meister than a brilliant technologist. That is not how you save a dying dinosaur from extinction.
Lazaridis got caught in a cross fire of withering questions from noted industry watchers Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, often unable to defend RIM's honor at all. For example, when asked about how Apple
Perhaps most damning of all, the clear answers Lazaridis did give rarely made him look good. The BlackBerry platform looks ready to split into two software foundations (or perhaps more), but all of it will be sold under the BlackBerry name. Confusing the customer is not smart salesmanship.
BlackBerry was unique years ago, before Apple introduced the first iPhone and Google got the Android ball rolling. Now, the last believable argument for buying a BlackBerry is that its security features are second to none -- but even there, the competition is catching up fast. RIM needs to find a way to set its products apart from what Apple, Google, Nokia, and others can produce or else fall out of favor with every section of the addressable market. Judging by this embarrassing performance, Lazaridis appears to be out of touch with what consumers and corporations are looking for.
Lest you think I'm jumping to conclusions, let me point out that RIM's shares are down 2% on a generally flat market day for tech stocks, while rivals Apple and Google stayed level and Motorola
Does Mike Lazaridis deserve yet another chance or does he truly belong in my doghouse? Discuss in the comments below.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Google is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.