Heins Said Its Prudent to Look at All Options for the Future
The question is haunting RIM this month, following Bloomberg's Aug. 8 report that IBM is interested in RIM's enterprise services division. Samsung has also been named as a potential suitor for either the intellectual property or the entire company. Heins was matter-of-fact about such options, coloring them as business decisions any logical company would consider."There's a small team ... working on strategic review with financial advisors, looking at what makes sense, what doesn't make sense, what would be our options," he said. "It's prudent to look at all the options for the future. It's not depending on each other, but certainly if BlackBerry 10 were out there, being proven by then ... it would make things easier. But they're not in any way dependent on each other."This seemed to indicate that it might be easier for RIM to partner with, say, an IBM, than to find a buyer. Heins repeated that all offers will be considered, but used the question to underscore RIM's value. "I like that question in that it recognizes that BlackBerry is not just a smartphone company," said Heins. "We're a global, secure, reliable data network ... we're within the key systems of the enterprise ... Most people look at smartphones, smartphones, smartphones. We have much more to offer than that." Indeed, RIM also has a vast intellectual property portfolio and patents it could use to help bring in cash-a business model that Nokia, another once-leader that's now also struggling, is also pursuing. In a market in need of differentiation-Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi has attributed Android's success not to any great love for Android but to a larger desire for an option other than the iPhone-RIM could also license out BB10 once it's complete. "The possibility is there," said Heins. QNX, the company behind the software, is in the licensing business and knows how to make the model successfully work. "Once finished, from a technical perspective, it's ready to license. Whether we decided to do that, that's a different question."