It is no secret that RIM has been struggling lately. Apple and Samsung rule the roost, with various other smartphone manufacturers taking large cuts out of BlackBerry’s previous market share. But until now we have been hearing mostly that it’s just a quieter period for the Canadian company, that it is just building its new operating system for the future.
In a recent interview with German newspaper Welt, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins spoke about that future. Reading it in a tongue in cheek manner, what he says could be interpreted as showing how much of struggle RIM is actually going through. When asked if BlackBerry 10 could be considered for licensing to other manufacturers, Heins replied: “Before you licensed the software, you must show that the platform has a large potential. First we have to fulfil our promises. If such proof, a licensing is conceivable.”
It has been a long time since BlackBerry last completely refreshed its operating system. Heins says that this is because “we have taken the time to build a platform that is future-proof for the next ten years. Our aim is not only to smartphones, but also to the use, for example, in cars that will be in the future increasingly networked. We see with BlackBerry 10 completely new areas of growth.”
Growth is what RIM desperately needs, as its image as a brand for older business people has not done it any favours. Heins believes that the company’s image is changing however, pointing out the success “BlackBerry has in markets such as Indonesia, South Africa and Great Britain.” “It is all about the messaging,” he says. What Heins conveniently forgets to point out is that these are some of the few countries where BlackBerry actually still has a noticeable presence, by selling its services and smartphones at low prices.
Heins does however believe that RIM has a large role to play in the smartphone market, adding that he thinks their role will be substantial. He also undermines RIM in a sense by saying that “we are a relatively young industry in the smartphone market, which is growing fast, so there is still plenty of room.”
Yes the smartphone market is growing fast, and there is more than enough room for development, but “we are a young industry”? Really? RIM has been dozing for the past couple of years. This interview shows that it seems to still be rubbing the sleep out if its eyes.