Research In Motion investors woke up to some rather interesting news on Jan. 23: the company's co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie were out and a new chief executive, Thorsten Heins, was in. The move is designed to breathe some new life into the ailing mobile company and hopefully bring in some fresh ideas that could ultimately help the BlackBerry maker return to its past glory.
For his part, Heins has said that he wants RIM to focus heavily on product development and marketing and he rebuffed calls to split the company into separate operations. Heins also said that he believes his company's BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 tablet could very well be a central component in its success in the coming years. Simply put, Heins is bullish on RIM's future and he wants to implement the strategies required to fulfill his dreams.
But what exactly should Heins do? More importantly, can he move beyond the ideas of Balsillie and Lazaridis and make the hard decisions to turn things around?
We'll see. But until then, read on to find out what Heins should do to fix RIM.
1. Start working on a real iPhone competitor
RIM has tried to deliver touch screen-based smartphones in the past, as evidence by the Storm and Storm2, but it hasn't done a good job of competing against the iPhone. The devices are too bulky; they aren't as responsive as they should be; and due to software limitations, they require physical buttons to be useful. It's time Heins spends significant investment dollars on building a true iPhone competitor that can stand up to Apple's smartphone on design, hardware quality and software integration.
2. Center the PlayBook on the enterprise
RIM made the bad decision to try to appeal to both consumers and enterprise users with its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The company must stop that. Like it or not, Heins must admit that his company is enterprise-focused. RIM tablets must appeal to that market to be successful.
3. Leverage the services division
RIM's real strength right now is in its services division. The company's messaging platforms are top-notch in the mobile space and BlackBerry Enterprise Server is second to none. RIM should leverage that as much as possible and focus more of its efforts on staying ahead in wireless services, rather than wait and see if competitors can catch up.
4. License patents every chance you get
If there is anything all the litigation across the mobile industry has proven, it's that wireless patents are in high demand. Considering RIM holds thousands of mobile patents, perhaps it should start licensing them to as many companies as possible. RIM is in the driver's seat when it comes to patents and Heins should take advantage of that.