Lazaridis and Balsillie have been under pressure to quit from investors for some time. Analysts and some RIM employees have faulted Lazaridis and Balsillie for RIM's decline, blaming them for not taking Apple's iPhone seriously since its 2007 debut nor enabling the company to rethink its dependence on its historic security and data compression strengths in the face of the iPhone's success and the later, greater success of Google's Android. Several sources with contacts at RIM have told InfoWorld that RIM employees often found resistance to reinventing the BlackBerry from the company's senior management, including the two former co-CEOs. The result has been a series of minor BlackBerry upgrades and the failed, BlackBerry-dependent PlayBook tablet.
The BlackBerry has long been liked by IT organizations due to its high degree of security and management controls, but users have preferred the applications orientation of the iPhone and Android platforms, as well as their greater ease of use. The BlackBerry's slide began serious acceleration after Apple introduced iOS 4 in July 2010, which brought a set of security and management capabilities that IT found it could live with, ending the major objection to remaining "BlackBerry shops." With these capabiltiies in place, it took just 18 months for most organizations to have adopted iPhones and other non-BlackBerry devices in what is called the bring your own device (BYOD) phenpmenon.
InfoWorld Executive Editor Galen Gruman contributed to this report.