Apple and IBM are two companies that made successful turnarounds from seemingly fairly desperate situations. Generally the turn arounds were done by a powerful outsider brought to the company, who cut through a Gordian Knot type situation.
RIM has two major issues: their hardware and their apps.
Their hardware lineup is confusing, frequently breaks and uninspired of design and engineering.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he simplified the product line from a jumble of numbered products with overlapping feature sets into 4 four products, based on a 2×2 matrix: inexpensive / expensive × desktop / laptop.
RIM should do something similar, simplifying its hardware line into three or four models easily grasped in purpose:
- BlackBerry Student / Third World — Nokia competitor inexpensive starter model
- BlackBerry Business — Keyboard model
- BlackBerry Touch — Touch Screen model, iPhone / Android competitor
And that’s that. I don’t know what to do with the PlayBook but unless it supports some critical business function that people buy BlackBerry mobiles for, it should be dropped.
Apps used to be almost impossible to develop cost effectively for BlackBerries due to a plethora of semi-compatible devices and a backwards Java ME development environment. RIM’s solution — for the future — is to allow you to develop in HTML5, C++, Java ME, Android, and Adobe AIR.
Where does this leave us? There is no reason to develop anything for RIM now, as things that run on the old OS are certainly approaching end-of-life; things that run on the new OS BB10 don’t have a device to deploy to! And what a confusing mess of choices.
What to do?
IMHO Simple: RIM should become (and announce that it is becoming) the best device to run HTML5 on it the world. It should hire the best the team of developers to make this happen and make sure that when anyone views a webpage on a BB device, it’s the best possible experience possible. RIM should provide an environment for security and e-commerce infrastructure that works HTML5 websites — that can be run on non-BB devices. Add massive and/or intelligent caching in the device to speed things up. Built in jQuery. And so forth.
And it should run on all the BB models above.
And it should drop support for C++, Java ME, Android and Adobe AIR.
 it’s safe to say Steve Jobs had any major favours left owed to senior Apple management