RIM CEO on What Went Wrong and the Future of BlackBerry

In an exclusive Q&A, CIO.com's Al Sacco chats with RIM CEO Thorsten Heins on the current state of BlackBerry and how it fell from grace, what the company is doing to ensure things in Waterloo don't get worse, and the product delay problems that have plagued RIM.

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Mon, July 09, 2012
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It's never good to be late. But without disclosing the entire launch schedule that we had in mind for BlackBerry 10, it's actually not as dramatic as many people see it in terms of what we forecasted in volume and what we had in our financial predictions.

How long will it be before we see a second or third BB10 device? How many different devices will RIM ship in 2013?

Very shortly after. I won't give you a specific date, but it's kind of like a one-two punch. You will see more than two devices, but I can also tell you that you will see us being much more focused in the product portfolio that we will be bringing out. The number of devices we will offer is going to be quite dramatically reduced. But that is not because we can't do it [offer more devices]; the reason is the portfolio quality that we want to put in play here.

That was part of the globalization of BlackBerry. We just had too many products out there. That's part of the focus program I'm running at RIM. We have very loyal customers that really like their BlackBerrys, so there's no need to churn them every six months.

Finally, I'd like to ask you for a prediction: Where will RIM be in one year from now? In July of 2013, what will I be writing about RIM and BlackBerry?

I think you will be writing that you are surprised by the performance and the user experience of the BlackBerry 10 product, that it helps you achieve your daily objectives but also have fun. By then you will see that this is a true mobile computing platform that allows BlackBerry to even explore other domains and spaces, like automotive, in cars.

I think you will be writing that if BlackBerry gets its execution right and straight than the company has a great future.

I know that you're personally disappointed with us shifting back BlackBerry 10, and I understand it. I get it entirely. But I want to win your personal faith back, too, and win your conviction in RIM back that we are a great company and we are a company that can create the future.

AS


Al Sacco covers Mobile and Wireless for CIO.com. Follow Al on Twitter @ASacco. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Al at asacco@cio.com

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