WSJ: PlayBook flopped because of executives’ meddling, focused on enterprise users

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RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook flopped because its executives constantly meddled in the promotion of the tablet, which appears to be heading fast as one of their flops, according to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The paper claims that the tablet suffered from hiccups as RIM’s executives changed the specifications of the tablet that pushed it behind and thus competing against the iPad 2, rather than the iPad 1. In addition, RIM’s recruiters refused to hire people outside of the Waterloo area, making it harder to hire certain designers that could have improved the UI.

Marketing was also a problem. Talking to insiders, executives wanted to focus on the enterprise rather than attracting the consumer market. Even what to promote was a point of conflict, with some wanting to emphasise the video and game capabilities; however, according to the paper, “some RIM executives insisted on highlighting the phone’s keyboard.”

Yes, because nothing says attractiveness than the keyboard.

The marketing confusion also saw “hundreds of ideas” from newly-hired 72 and Sunny rejected by the executives. RIM fired the ad agency a month before its roll out.

What’s stunning from this article is the constant denial by the executives that its real growth is in the consumer mobile market. While it has been successful in adapting, such as with integration of some better hardware that suits the consumer with its enterprise-level security, the problem is with RIM is the lack of marketing towards the growing consumer market, quickly being dominated by iPhones, Android and even Windows Phone 7 phones.

But here’s the kicker: enterprise users want the big and latest consumer smartphones. RIM may still be the darling of the enterprise smartphone world, it doesn’t mean that the people inside that world want a BlackBerry. Many enterprise users are now using their competitors – and they have quickly adapted. iOS, for example, now supports Exchange and has some security features for business.

Where can RIM go now? Maybe ditch their two co-CEOs, because it appears they are doing a crap job.