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New RIM chief tries rival devices, vows 'a lot' of change

updated 12:15 am EST, Fri January 27, 2012

RIM CEO willing to try opponents' devices, more

New info trickling out from a CrackBerry interview with new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins may assuage some early fears that he was locked into his predecessors' management style. The new executive made a point not just to use Android, iOS, and other platforms himself but a "whole team" that both looks at the competition and sees what doesn't work. Even his children are involved, he said.

"I have to do this [testing]," Heins said. "You need to know where you are."

While it's not clear how much is different versus what ex-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have done, the process is much more engaged than with Nokia before the arrival of CEO Stephen Elop. Staff were known to have often refused to try iPhones or other competing devices and, as a result, lived in a vacuum where they didn't have a frame of reference for how poorly Symbian was doing.

Heins further clarified his position after statements that there wouldn't be major change triggered stock sell-offs. He promised that there would be "a lot of change" and that the comments were more to dismiss outside beliefs that RIM might split into separate companies or sell itself. BlackBerry 10 and internal structural change were in place, but RIM still believed in its complete integration of hardware and software.

The remarks left an opportunity to criticize Android. RIM's chief saw "no room for differentiation" in practice between Android suppliers. His employer had made mistakes, but these were inevitable and were still leading RIM down the right path. "This is not baking cookies," he said. "This is building high tech products."

by MacNN Staff



  1. JohnFromBeyond

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What a great idea -- look at your competition who is eating your lunch. Duh. I can't believe anyone at RIM would refuse to do that... I would assume that is standard practice.

  1. facebook_Vera

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2012


    explains why RIM is in the crapper

    Staff were known to have often refused to try iPhones or other competing devices and, as a result, lived in a vacuum where they didn't have a frame of reference for how poorly Symbian was doing.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    those two chairman guys were...

    the height of egocentric nincompoops. They looked in the mirror and kept congratulating themselves as everything was falling apart. Even an idiot could have done that kind of work, and paid far less.

  1. LMGS

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Sounds like he plans to copy iOS, just like everyone else..

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ripping a page from HP

    Flip-flop. They might as well go into the sandal business.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good news, bad news.

    Re: Heins saying "You need to know where you are."

    The good news: he realizes there is competition.

    The bad news: RIM is 5+ years behind Apple.

  1. martinX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    WinMo 6

    MS staffers were known to be buying iPhones in great numbers, even preferring them to a free WinMo 6 phone supplied by MS, but it didn't help them improve things much.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Even his children...

    This guy is good! He put a company spin on the fact that his kids won't be caught dead with a blackberry... So now, even they are a part of his corporate strategy to figure out what competition is doing.

    Before I begin to show sympathy for the company (and the new CEO), I'd first like to see if they are able to genuinely turn the ship around. Microsoft seems to have done exactly that with respect to their mobile OS. By all accounts, their WinMob is now original (i.e. not iOS derivative), and even Apple fan David Pogue likes it. In the end, this may be irrelevant for MS, coming in too late to make a difference, but at least they put their heads together, evaluated the competition and came up with something original (unlike an iOS copy called Android). Heins seems to be determined to do the same with RIM. If he does, he'll gain my sympathy, but it is unlikely that such a change might do anything to arrest the decline (just like MS, coming in too late to make a difference).

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