RIM’s new CEO Thorsten Heins has only been at the reigns for an evening, but he did a very “BlackBerry” job of presenting himself to the media this morning on his introductory media call.
It felt a lot like the media calls of yore, with Balsillie and Lazaridis at the helm. Especially when Heins referred to Apple as “the other fruit company,” noting the two companies shared strategy of vertical integration. Unfortunately, vertical integration of software and hardware is about all that these two fruits have in common.
Remember folks, Heins is coming off of a four-year stint at RIM. At the relatively young company, Heins worked under founder Mike Lazaridis and his partner in crime Jim Balsillie. That said, you can basically hear Lazaridis-style hubris in Heins’ comments.
When asked if there was anything Heins wanted to do in the past, but was held back from by his position, Heins confirms that he (along with the freshly removed prior leadership) doesn’t see much wrong with RIM.
“At the time, the company was growing but still acting as a startup,” said Heins. “But startup processes don’t scale. Every company goes through that phase. I had the opportunity to learn about RIM here. I don’t think that there is a drastic change needed. We are evolving our tactics and processes. I don’t feel that I was held back in any way to do what I needed to do.”
So, let’s just parse this out, shall we? Heins, as COO, was never held back in executing operational decisions or strategies. That means that anything he has wanted to do to help grow (and likely save) the brand, he could’ve already done. In other words, don’t expect a brand new BlackBerry or a brand new RIM.
But the new CEO had plenty more to talk about, namely that he has no plans to split the software and hardware businesses. So you can kiss dreams of an Android-powered BlackBerry out the window for now.
No, it’s BB 10 all the way, courtesy of QNX. When asked whether QNX is really “the thing,” Heins responded by saying that “QNX is not developing an OS. It’s an existing OS. It’s used already. It’s a multi-threaded OS. What that allows us to do is true multitasking. You can have many apps open at the same time and really run them real-time in parallel.”
He finished his shpeel by noting that QNX is “an extremely competitive OS today.” Of course, we have no way of judging that until RIM fiddles around with it, makes it usable on a smartphone, and then finally releases it.
Heins also mentioned that he’d be open to licensing BB 10 to other manufacturers, “if it makes sense strategically and tactically.” But again, other manufacturers would likely need to see consumer reaction to the OS before anything like that went down, which brings us back to RIM’s most pressing and important near-term goal: get BB 10 to market quickly.