Chief of trouble phonemaker is confident RIM will recover, despite analyst pessimism

Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette joined the growing crowd of analysts prophesying the embattled Canadian phonemaker Research in Motion, Ltd.'s (TSE:RIM) demise, saying he expects the new operating system will get "a lukewarm response at best" from consumers.  He points to a foreign interface and a lack of apps as key deterrents to potential adoption.

I. RIM Soldiers Forward Towards Crucial Launch

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins admits that his company is struggling, but he views BB10's chances in a far different light, commenting to Reuters, "I think it's all lining up. Sometimes you get the feeling that the universe is in disarray, and with BlackBerry 10 coming, I see the stars lining up."

BlackBerry 10 will launch at a special event on January 30, although RIM has not revealed when actual product will land in stores.  The release is quite belated; RIM had hoped to launch BlackBerry in early 2012, but the launch date slipped more than once.

But Mr. Heins, who became chief of the struggling firm in Jan. 2012, is convinced that the unique features of BB10 will win over consumers and make it worth the wait.  He points to UI features that he argues his larger competitors -- namely Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android OS and Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS -- lack, such as swipable transitions between apps and in-frame previews of emails.

He also takes issue with his rivals calling their security "good enough", but not great.  He comments, "There's this high-level security that you cannot walk away from, and then there's 'good enough' security."

II. At Least He Has a Plan

To RIM's credit; it has done a fairly good job courting developers (despite some odd videos).  At launch it expects BB10 to have around 100,000 apps, a figure that puts it in the same ballpark as Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone platform.  Coincidentally, Mr. Heins previously set the modest goal of being "third place" in the market, a goal that would require beating back Microsoft.

Despite plunging share prices and layoffs of 5,000 employees, Mr. Heins insists he's keeping morale up among employees and shareholders alike.  He comments, "The message to our shareholders is that we understand this is and has been a difficult time for them and for us.  But with the development of the BlackBerry 10 platform we are truly convinced that we will create long-term value for RIM's shareholders and investors."

BlackBerry 10 handsets [Image Source: Crackberry]

Mr. Heins did offer up some new details about the framework for the BlackBerry 10 launch and RIM's survival bid.  He says RIM will trim an additional $800M USD to $1B USD from its operating expenses by the end of March.

As for the launch, he says it will be preceded by special in-depth preview workshops with his company's top 50 enterprise customers.  And he says the launch will roll out in waves globally, commenting, "We cannot launch every carrier and every country on the same day, but what we have defined is a set of waves in the various regions.  It is going to be a global launch. There isn't one preferred region. We are managing and planning it as we speak."

Source: Reuters

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