Should the Media be Proclaiming RIM’s Death?

by Ben Bajarin   |   July 14th, 2011

Over the past few weeks i’ve been reading a number of articles from the big media outlets all proclaiming the death of RIM. Most of these articles are pretty grim and their headlines say it all. I have nothing against a good or controversial headline its more the content of the article i’m interested in. What i’ve noticed is the content of these articles being fairly negative on RIM don’t really offer much helpful insight for either the consumer or RIM itself.

Two articles in particular this week are examples of what I mean.

BGR: Inside RIM: An exclusive look at the rise and fall of the company that made smartphones smart

All Things D: Bring Out Your Dead: Is Research In Motion The Next DEC?

So what I am wondering is what the role of the media should be in a situation like this where a company is struggling. Given that the media is extremely influential and actually does affect the mind share of consumers, it seems that if all the outlets go around saying RIM is dead, consumers will believe it and write them off no matter how good any future products may be.

Perhaps it would be more helpful if these articles contained a balance and point out what has gone wrong but offer helpful suggestions on what RIM could do to remain competitive. The result would be that the market may not write RIM off entirely and instead look to see if RIM responds to the helpful insights to the media, using the media to their advantage, and still have a shot at competing.

Too often it seems like the media is powerful enough to claim a companies death, thus affecting the mind share of investors and consumers and in return create a self fulfilling prophecy where the company actually does disappear.

Now i’m not saying the media does not always write negatively. In fact a number of good articles have come out that do offer helpful suggestions. I simply believe they are more rare than the norm. A few examples:

In BGR’s Open letter to BlackBerry bosses: Senior RIM exec tells all as company crumbles around him the letter itself contains helpful insights and suggestions.

Even though we are analysts not journalists Tim and I have also covered the topic.

Tim Bajarin wrote one for PC Magazine called What RIM Needs To Do To Survive that offered a number of suggestions for RIM.

And in my article last week for the tech section of Time.com I wrote about The Tragic Decline of BlackBerry and offer some insights as well on how to turn it around.

The bottom line is I would like to see more competition and consumer choice than less. I know negative news drives traffic but what i’m hoping is that there is a balance. I’d love to see the media also use its influence to do all they can to help struggling companies better compete going forward.

Again it comes back to my original question. What should the role of the media be when a company is down?

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research. He is a husband, father, gadget enthusiast, trend spotter, early adopter and hobby farmer. Full Bio
  • Bill

    I’ll ask you to set the wayback machine to around 1997 (Ben, you were too young then, but your dad will remember this) when the media and most everyone in the Valley had written Apple off for dead. The stock was less than $10, the company was struggling everywhere and Jobs was still at NeXT. the point is that the Media were circling the “corpse” and proclaiming Apple dead. they’re not always the fortune tellers that they sometimes get credit for being.

    Jobs came back to the company with a vision, he slashed things that weren’t core to the business (but some times were profitable) brought a group of really talented management back into the company and let them loose on rebuilding the company. We know how that ended up.

    RIM faces a similar challenge, the question is will the management team step up, or will the board find one that will. The open letter is a glaring example of the issues; is everything in that letter true? maybe, but the sentiment I’m sure is there.

    • Anonymous

      Good thoughts Bill. I sort of remember, I was at Cypress Semi at the time. In fact I almost bought 100 shares of Apple that year and it was just under $10 but I chickened out. Stupid me..

      I think you are right on that at this point only a drastic change in leadership with a standout visionary leader can save them. I wonder who though is available?

      • Recision

        Have just read this article.
        Interesting the difference a year can make…
        Or not – as the case may be.

        ” only a drastic change in leadership with a standout visionary leader can save them. I wonder who though is available? “

      • Recision

        Have just read this article.
        Interesting the difference a year can make…
        Or not – as the case may be.

        ” only a drastic change in leadership with a standout visionary leader can save them. I wonder who though is available? “