After enduring a few years of shrinking relevance in the smartphone market, RIM punctuated its decline with the simultaneous departure of its conjoined CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. And while this may signal a new direction for the company, it also likely means the stream of moronic soundbytes we’ve grown accustomed to will cease to exist as well.
So as a tribute to the verbal ineptitude of RIM’s fallen leaders, here are 10 of their most ridiculous quotes from over the years.
Tablets are stupid
Yes, Lazaridis also once stated that tablets were pointless:
“I don’t see the benefits of a tablet over a notebook… A lot of technology falls in the middle.”
“Offshoot products trying to fill gaps that maybe don’t need to be filled. Yes, a tablet is a cool concept, but can you put it in your pocket? And would you carry one around if you couldn’t?”
Blackberry OS 6.0 was destined to destroy the competition
Despite the fact that parts of BB OS still look like they were made in 1989, Balsillie was convinced the 6.0 iteration of his favourite mobile environment was going to destroy Android and iOS. This was in 2010.
“I’ll think you’ll just be amazed that how it’s a quantum leap over anything that’s out there.”
Everything on the internet is encrypted
Lazaridis was annoyed with Middle Eastern Governments because they were giving RIM grief over its encrypted servers and data streams. And while everything on the internet should definitely be encrypted, Lazaridis’s insistance that everything on the internet is secure is highly laughable.
“This is about the internet,” Mr Lazaridis said. “Everything on the internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can’t deal with the internet, they should shut it off.”
Lazaridis speaks a language only he understands
At All Things D’s mobile event in 2010, Mike Lazaridis was asked why Blackberry decided to put its next-generation, touch-optimised QNX OS on a small tablet and not a phone (such as the BlackBerry Torch). What followed is a string of words matched in mystery by only the highest levels of maths and theology.
First of all, the Torch was designed to be a launch vehicle for BB 6. That argument could be used in reverse. In a world where Half VGA was high performance, the world had moved on to 1GHz CPUs and higher res displays… when you see how quickly that phone moves around, just imagine the next generation.
People want Flash on mobile devices
To be fair, he might have been somewhat correct in asserting that 7-inch tablets would be a mainstay in the space, but in firing back after Steve Jobs said mean things about RIM, he was also way off in stubbornly insisting that mobile devices needed flash.
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.
That time when Mossberg called Mike out on his Jargon Distorion Field
Another highlight of the All Things D event where Lazardis ended up speaking in tongues was his attempt to explain that they’re not an ageing, meandering dinosaur. After running interference by lacing Mossberg’s ears with technical phrases, Mossberg called him out:
Mike: We built all our own technology. We have a strong foundation to continue leadership. I mean, you saw the Playbook; it’s effortless graphics, it’s fully real-time. This operating system is already AL4 Plus-certified, its SEAL3-certified.
Walt: I don’t know what those mean.
Following a meltdown in the New York Times, Lazaridis somehow managed to one-up himself in an interview with the BBC. After they badgered him about some very legitimate concerns regarding security, Lazaridis offered up this gem:
We’ve been singled out because we’d been so successful.
He then immediately ended the interview. Sore topic?
Lazaridis was also pressed at the same All Things D event about Blackberry’s move into devices with multicore processors. In an attempt to maybe explain why they’ve been slow to embrace the latest technology, his words devolved, once more, into a slurry of technical vocabulary that makes extremely little sense.
Our competitors have taken a smartphone operating system and they’re trying to upgrade it to a tablet computer. We’re starting at a very powerful, multitasking, real-time, secure operating platform — which is the QNX environment. That’s where we’re starting at the tablet computing. And as we get smaller, lower cost, multi-processing platforms coming in the baseband environment — remember, we write our own 3G and 4G software — when we’re able to integrate all that technology together, we’re gonna be able to provide the highest performance, the best reliability, the best security and the best efficiency.
Maybe the exit of Lazaridis and Balsillie isn’t the end of ridiculous RIM quotables. In a promo video about his ascendance to the RIM throne, new CEO Thorston Heirs had a lot to say about RIM’s history of innovation and forward thinking. Were we living in the same reality?
At the very core of RIM — at its DNA — is the innovation. We always think ahead. We alway think forward. We sometimes think the unthinkable.
We’re hoping Heirs is alluding to that time RIM had the idea to put email in a pager. That was truly unthinkable at the time. If they can make another leap of that magnitude, the company might make it. Here’s hoping.