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So much for a slow weekend for tech news! On Saturday, The New York Times published a lengthy exposé on why Apple manufactures its products in China -- and it’s not just about cheap labor. Then, on Sunday, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion dropped the bombshell most of us have been expecting: After two decades, its co-CEOs are stepping down in favor of a virtual unknown who thus far appears to be towing the company line.
The New York Times put something of a damper on the quarterly financials coming from Apple Inc. this week with an epic piece published Saturday entitled, “How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work.” Citing former (and mostly unnamed) Apple executives and others in the business, the article examines why Cupertino chose to move its tech manufacturing to China, and why, in the words of former CEO Steve Jobs, “those jobs aren’t coming back.”
Among the nuggets of new information in the article is the story about how Steve Jobs decided to change the original 2007 iPhone screen from plastic to glass a mere six weeks before it was available in stores (his prototype received too many scratches from being carried in his pocket). The tale is at the crux of Apple’s decision to keep its manufacturing in China, where workers can be called into action at a moment’s notice and efficiency is apparently beyond what U.S. factories are capable of. It’s a fascinating read for everyone who owns an Apple product and wonders where it comes from.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Canada’s The Globe and Mail announced that Research in Motion co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie were out, replaced by former co-COO Thorsten Heins (pictured above), who has been with the company since 2007 (ironically, the same year that Apple debuted the iPhone). The news isn’t entirely unexpected, with stockholders revolting and the BlackBerry maker’s stock value down 75 percent in the past year.
Founder Lazaridis will now become a vice-chair on RIM’s board, “with special duties to examine innovation” (whatever that means!), while Balsillie is now “a director with no executive responsibilities.” Both men gave up their co-chair positions on the board and appear confident with their recommendation of the new CEO.
And what of this new president and CEO? Apparently, RIM anticipated introducing the relatively unknown Heins to the world and prepared a YouTube video (embedded below) for just this scenario. Unfortunately for the former smartphone giant, it poses more questions than it answers, as Heins appears confident in the questionable path that Lazaridis and Balsillie have laid out, including the introduction of new BlackBerry 10 devices later this year -- more than five years after the iPhone (and later, Google’s Android) started to pull the rug out from under their market share.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of The Globe and Mail, Video courtesy of Business Insider)