RIM CEO: "I don't expect things to get much worse"

A couple of weeks ago we reported some good news from the RIM stable, as the company issued a positive update on the progress of its next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system. BB10, they said, was still on track and already in testing with dozens of carriers across the globe. Earlier this week, RIM confirmed that the new OS will officially launch on January 30.

It's been a tough couple of years for RIM, which has seen a catastrophic decline in market share, on the back of lacklustre products, delay after delay, and high profile service outages, much of which came under the curious and widely criticised leadership of its former joint-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who stepped down earlier this year. The man who replaced them, Thorsten Heins, has undoubtedly had an immensely difficult job to stablise the company, and get people energised and enthusiastic about it again. There aren't many organisations with the scale and influence of RIM whose CEOs have to publicly deny that the company is in a "death spiral".

This week, Heins has been talking up BlackBerry 10, and spent some time with The New York Times. He told those assembled: "I don't expect things to get much worse", an obvious reference to the company's well-documented woes.

The NYT's Bits blog reports that "the phone will not introduce any significant hardware innovations", but that the BB10 OS seeks to make tasks much easier by intelligently consolidating "bits of information and capabilities that are distributed through separate apps on current smartphones. BlackBerry 10's messaging center for example, can display Facebook updates, LinkedIn messages, texts and Twitter posts along with e-mails. In turn, BlackBerry 10 users will be able to use that hub, as an example, to reply to Facebook messages without opening their phones' Facebook app."

Sounds an awful lot like Windows Phone, but Heins evidently believes that there's enough distinctiveness and appeal to make it a compelling offering: "It is stress relief; it doesn't make you look at all your applications all the time. This is going to catch on with a lot of people." He added that the advantages of BlackBerry 10 will be so obvious to potential customers that "a one-minute sales pitch in a shop" is all it will take to seal the deal and make the sale.

Whether Heins' optimism is warranted or misplaced remains to be seen. The scale of the challenge for RIM is obvious, but we'll have to wait and see whether things can get worse for the company, or if - as Heins and his team will be hoping - the only way is up.

Source: Bits from The New York Times | Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

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RIM is like a good solid running engine. They really make sure that engine runs top knotch. However, their car sucks. Its outdated and old feeling. Its pitched to the businessman not the teenie bopper who can sieve money from their parents for anything they want.

After working for a major mobile network dealing with the damn things and owning several myself with HUGE flaws...I'm not convinced they're going to make a comeback.

RIM may pull this off and be the successful third ecosystem leaving tiny little marketshare crumbs for everyone else.

RIM is just too late. There the new Palm that the OS maybe good but the others are just so much better and more people are just use to it. if I was RIM I would try to sell it to Microsoft just to get something out of it.

Android and iOS hasn't left anybody single room to breath. people used to choose variety of phones before, now they tend to choose variety of apps instead. thats why they buy iphone. honestly its a tough time for Nokia, RIM and others.

The reason why there are so many apps is because there's only a few platforms that developers need to support. I think the mobile arena is just fine with Android, iOS, and perhaps Windows too.

BlackBerry would do best to run a heavily customized version of Android (similar to what Amazon does). That way they could at least run Android apps.

Chugworth said,
The reason why there are so many apps is because there's only a few platforms that developers need to support. I think the mobile arena is just fine with Android, iOS, and perhaps Windows too.

BlackBerry would do best to run a heavily customized version of Android (similar to what Amazon does). That way they could at least run Android apps.


I don't know about that. If they manage to make a solid OS without any problem and security flaw (which is really a difficult task) they might be as successfull as persuing android affair. The thing about BB is that they are known for their qwerty keypad. now they are immitating iPhone (making a high end touch phone). They better be very good at it because Windows Phone OS with all the reputation of Microsoft in Software and working with vendors hasn't managed to make enough attraction and by the time they are entering the market Microsoft managed to get at least 5% of the market. As I said no matter what route they take they'll have a very tough way to go.

The only reason RIM even still exists is because a lot of security minded companies like where I work refuse to give up blackberries. But I really don't think that's enough to save RIM.