RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, on a Canadian radio program, said U.S. BlackBerry sales are going to stink for six months, but BlackBerry 10 will make RIM a strong player in the smartphone and mobile computing markets, specifically in the U.S. and Canada.
Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins
defended his company and its future on the CBC Metro Morning
radio program July
3, saying it is neither in a "death spiral" nor "at death's
door," as host Matt Galloway suggested. Heins told the host that RIM
remains in the middle of a transition and that he feels "positive"
the company will successfully emerge from it.
Heins appears to be a man of considerable
patience and fortitudenecessary qualities for his current, unenviable job
, revamping its tarnished image and getting the world to understand the
magnitude of what the company is working on.
Over nearly 10 minutes of compelling airtime,
Heins worked at all three.
He told Galloway:
We're building a whole new mobile computing
platform and that is a huge program that we are going through with the
company. We're doing in probably 18 to 20 months what others have used 24 to 36
months for. So, the whole company is focused around it, and while we do this,
we are still very focused on selling BlackBerry 7 ... So this whole company is
going through an orientation of new focusesaround corporate customers, around
consumers, around a whole new software platform, and that is quite a challenge
to the company.
While RIM has worked to compress its
calendar, it nonetheless has been forced to delay the launch of the BlackBerry
10 platform from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of next year.
During the company's June 28 earnings call, Heins announced the delay, a
quarterly loss of more than $500 million and that the company, as expected,
will be letting 5,000 employees go.
When Galloway asked why the delay, Heins
responded that he, too, was disappointed, but given
all that is riding on BlackBerry 10
, it must be "of the highest
quality," with no compromises.
Could we have rushed it out? Probably, yes.
But the point is, it's a new platform for the next 10 years. We want it to be
stable, we want it to be reliable, we want it to be of the highest quality. And
in the light of this, I think a delay of two months is disappointing, and all
the teams are disappointed, but they will continue working hard, get it out in
the first quarter, and get it right.
Galloway was quick to point out that that
delays have become a RIM hallmarkand here he made for some excitingly
uncomfortable conversation, telling Heins that in six months' time, when
BlackBerry 10 is ready to come out, RIM may not even be around.
Heins calmly responded:
Software development is always a very huge
task. And as I said, we are not just upgrading from one version to another, we
are building a whole new platform. Nothing in BlackBerry 10 is like it was on
the BlackBerry OS, so please understand the size and the sheer amount of work
that the teams are going through.
Will the company be around? As I said, the
next quarters are going to be difficult, but we will still continue to grow in
the rest of the world. We will face our challenges in the U.S. in the next six
months, I understand that. But I am positive that when we launch BlackBerry 10,
there will be huge support from our carrier partners, from our enterprise
customers and that we will reemergespecifically in the U.S. and in Canadaas a
very strong player, not just in the smartphone market but also emerging into
the mobile computing market.
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