Thorsten Heins and the RIM conundrum

RIM recently appointed a new CEO in Thorsten Heins as investors were not happy (understatement of the year, I know) with the former Co-CEOs; Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.                                         Upon hearing this, many [analysts] responded to the news with some worry for RIM’s future mainly because Heins actually said that the company “would not be undergoing drastic changes”, in addition to the former Co-CEOs (who could be blamed for the company’s current position) still having active roles within the company.

Jumping to the defence of his company, Heins spoke to Reuters and confirmed that he will be detailing his proposed changes to the board, who he claimed are 1000 percent behind, in a few weeks

“I will have time with the board in two weeks to present my ideas and changes,” Heins said.

Claiming that the board is behind him “1000 percent”, Heins shouldn’t see any problems from them with his proposed changes which are said to include plans to release a revamped model of the BlackBerry PlayBook with a High-Speed Wireless connection (based on current LTE Technology) and the new PlayBook 2.0 OS in Spring, as well as the BlackBerry 10 OS,set run on RIM’s next-gen BlackBerry Smartphones which will reportedly feature LTE connectivity (something the major U.S. carriers have been requesting from the Canadian company for a long time).

While speaking on BlackBerry in the U.S. to WSJ on Friday, Heins revealed that a recent internal review showed that around 80-90 percent of U.S. BlackBerry users still have yet to adopt the BlackBerry 7 OS, either because they don’t have hardware capable of running it (effectively leaving them “two generations behind”) or they just don’t see the importance of it and the new features that come with it.

“When I talk about BlackBerry, I’m talking about [new BlackBerry 7 phones],” Mr. Heins said. “I have to realize that only 10% to 15% of the people know this.”

But nevertheless RIM supposedly do have plans to change all that, with the support of the major U.S. carriers, according to Reuters.

“All the plans are ready. The carrier agreements are all ready. Now we have to get off the starting grid. Now we need to execute that upgrade program,” Heins said.

 

Good Responses coming there from Heins, but “will this all pan out for RIM?” is still the question on everyone’s lips. Honestly, I really don’t think so, especially with their Smartphone market share looking to go significantly down even further in the U.S. over the next few months due to recharged rivals; Microsoft , who are currently set to take the market by storm after partnering with Nokia (which apparently cost Microsoft $250 Million) to create the Nokia Lumia Smartphones which will feature WP 7.5 Mango – with release dates penned down for sometime in the near future (some are already available e.g. Lumia 710).                                                                                                                                      I can’t really comment on any of the BlackBerry 10 devices yet as I have not seen them, but whose to say the Technology (Dual-Core LTE Processor) they are waiting on isn’t on par with some of the products which are already available from other companies. I mean it is possible since they’ve been for the hardware for quite a few months now, and will still have to wait for it until around September.

And then in the Tablet market, where Heins claims they will be competing with the iPad through the upcoming revamped PlayBook, in Spring. He needs to understand that you can’t just go straight to the leader of the pack, especially when your product could still be easily compared with some of the runners in the back. To fully compete with the iPad, the PlayBook is going to need completely new hardware in addition to the upcoming software update (PlayBook 2.0), as you honestly can’t expect to keep up when you’re holding a backdated product.

 

In review, what I’ve said might seem harsh, but Thorsten Heins and RIM’s plans (which have been revealed) seem to rely too much on variables which they really don’t have much control over, i.e. carriers marketing their products, waiting for other companies to produce hardware for them, etc..                                                                                                Seriously, if this is the way they will continue on with the company, we could see them playing catch up for the next 3-5 years.

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