updated 08:55 am EST, Mon January 23, 2012
RIM CEO explains strategy in conference call
RIM's newly appointed CEO Thorsten Heins during a conference call discussing his new position made clear there would be a shift in strategy early on. Expanding on hints from earlier, he said the company would be "closer to our consumer bases" than its still primarily enterprise-focused strategy. More of the attention would be in the US, an area that has been a weak point as Android and the iPhone have taken over.
The company would also be "more marketing driven," Heins said. As part of this, RIM would be hiring a new chief marketing officer. RIM's now former co-CEO Jim Balsillie had taken over the position after Keith Pardy left, leading many to see RIM's marketing as distracted and too focused on technical features over the experience.
He added that BlackBerry 10 gave a lot of potential beyond just smartphones and tablets. Pointing to how QNX can scale, the new CEO explained that BB10 could "really go vertical" and pick the segments it wanted to involve itself with.
Licensing the OS wouldn't necessarily happen. Heins would be willing to "entertain those discussions" once BB10 was available, but that wasn't his focus, he clarified. He would primarily focus on improving the vertically integrated platform of hardware, services, and software. Among the improvements would be a higher emphasis on getting prototypes ready, reducing churn in development programs, and generating "way better" execution.
While analysts from Sterne Agee and other investment groups are cautious about Heins, he's generally credited with some of the improvements in the past year. He started taking on product and sales roles about 10 months ago and has seen the company cut down the time it takes to ship a phone. The Bold 9900 is considered a strong showing for RIM and helped it see at least a brief rebound in sales late into 2011.