RIM CEO: We Want to be in Third Place
September 26, 2012 11:11 AM
(Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech (Original Image: AP))
RIM urges developers not to "be mislead", that "the [BlackBerry 10] launch is just ahead" in Q1 2013
A lack of ambition? A grim dose of reality? No matter how you interpret it, embattled Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) CEO Thorsten Heins' recent remarks are a testament to how far the giant has fallen, even as it hopes to rise from the ashes.
I. A Burning Platform
At a press unveil of beta hardware for the BlackBerry 10 platform, Mr. Heins said his company's short term goal is to get back to third place. He remarks, "We have a clear shot at being the number three platform on the market. We're not just another open platform on the market, we are
Three years ago hearing the CEO of RIM say that his company was shooting for third would have elicited confused chuckles. Back in 2009, RIM was at the top of the market. One of the most valuable tech stocks, RIM employed nearly 20,000 people globally. It sold more smartphones that any other OEM -- in fact nearly
1 out of every 2
smartphones sold at the time was a BlackBerry.
Ex-RIM CEO Mike Lazardis's
in 2009 -- "Sometimes we have to put the brakes on. We've shown that we can handle annual 100% growth. I'm not sure we could handle more than that."
The Rimdenberg has cruised from star to scorned. [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]
Well RIM indeed hit the brakes. It's been a
tumultuous flaming crash
ever since, with RIM's brand image going from glowing to garbage due to the company's failure to keep pace with competitors in pushing the hardware and software envelope. Today
less than 1 in 20
smartphones sold is a BlackBerry [source]. RIM has
laid off nearly half
its employees. If you invested $22,000 USD in RIM back in 2008 you today would be left with less than $1,000 USD, thanks to the company's
II. A Comeback?
But CEO Thorsten Heins is convinced his company's new platform will be superior to Google Inc.'s (
Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean"
, Microsoft Corp.'s (
Windows Phone 8
], and Apple, Inc.'s (
He comments, "It has all the table stakes we need to have for consumer [success]. [Y]ou climb a mountain step by step. I'm not thinking about BlackBerry being the number one smartphone, BlackBerry needs to be number one in mobile computing."
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins would be happy to be in third place at this point. [Image Source: The Verge]
Unsurprisingly, much of Mr. Heins' critique of the competition focuses on Apple -- a brand darling that has arguably innovated the least since 2007 in the user interface department. Much like Microsoft RIM feels that pushing apps into the background -- the strategy Apple
-- hinders busy users as it increases wait times. Both BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8 feature persistent apps that are simultaneously running.
RIM takes things even a step farther than Microsoft, though, displaying actual thumbnails of the running app in a "multitasking zone". Of course, there are some downsides to this approach -- some customers may prefer a more stylized animated widget and there may be battery life penalties for rendering an actual thumbnail of each active app.
III. RIM Serenades Developers in Odd Pitch
In its latest in a
bizarre marketing pitches
RIM released a video alongside the event titled "Devs, BlackBerry Is Going To Keep On Loving You", which features an odd rock song about BlackBerry 10 and RIM's "transition".
The rather out-of-tune RIM crooner promises, "Don't be mislead, the launch is just ahead."
Of course RIM has been promising that since mid-2011, so whether it meets its Q1 2013 deployment target remains to be seen. Whether developers -- and customers -- still have any love left for RIM also remains to be seen.
"This is about the Internet. 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." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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