RIM CEO: The hard work and the changes are bearing fruit
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins is confident his company can ride out the current transition and thrive again by being everywhere, in every device.
He isn’t completely crazy.
RIM has seen some good news of late.
It also owns the the world’s largest private sector secure data network, which could be very appealing to companies and individuals who need to transmit sensitive data.
Still, Heins knows he has a long way to go.
“We owned the mistakes we made,” Heins said. “We took responsibility and changed stuff.”
Those changes have included a complete turnover in the leadership team since Heins took the reins in January. His goal is to make RIM a more nimble company that makes faster decisions that don’t get mired by committees.
“We looked at management structure and figured out they were way over-managed. We removed the unnecessary committees and management by consensus,” Heins said.
Heins talks directly with the development team. If he wants a feature, they implement it. No committees, no meetings, no B.S. This worked wonderfully for Apple with Steve Jobs. How it’ll work for RIM remains to be seen. But the CEO isn’t done yet.
“I’m not where I want to be, frankly. I’m 50 percent down the road,” he said.
While leading the smartphone market is an aspiration, it isn’t RIM’s end game. It isn’t about the hardware, but the network underpinning it.
“I don’t define myself as I want to be number one in the smartphone segment, we built this platform because I want to be a clear innovation leader in the mobile computing domain.” Heins said.
With QNX and the world’s largest private, secure global data network, RIM wants to manage all mobile endpoints. The company wants to be everywhere and in every device. Heins is banking on a three- to 10-year play that the smartphone replaces the laptop computer.
His dream is that you show up to a terminal with a keyboard, mouse and monitor and start working securely from the smartphone you have in your pocket. Heins said:
“There’s a huge opportunity in really mobilising enterprise and making the smartphone your personal computing power.”
Because that mobile network is secure, he sees BlackBerry 10 being used by industries, such as the medical business, that need to securely transmit sensitive data. Instead of mailing documents or, worse, faxing them, doctors and hospitals would use RIM’s secure network via a QNX enabled device to send private records to patients and other doctors.
Heins is quick to note RIM’s BlackBerry10 enterprise network already has been FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard Publication) 140-2 certificated. A show that the US and Canadian governments can securely place BlackBerry 10 devices in the hands of employees.
“That’s where I want to be number one. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on smartphones and tablets. They’re an element of my future business model.” Heins said.
Heins has noticed as of late that the attitude towards RIM has gone from negative to neutral. It may have to do with a flurry of good news. The company recently added an additional two million subscribers between the first quarter of 2012 and the San Jose BlackBerry Jam event in September.
The BBM 7 Voice feature has been well received and with an actual launch date, BlackBerry 10 is less vapourware and more something to keep an eye on.
“We see the hard work and the changes bearing fruit.” Heins said. But Heins is also a realist. Even if BlackBerry 10 is exactly what RIM wants it to be when it comes to market. It could suffer the same fate as Microsoft. The mobile operating system out of Redmond hasn’t made much of a dent in the market dominated by iOS and Android.
Still Heins seemed more relaxed than the man who had to answer for a remark about BlackBerry being third in the mobile market at BlackBerry Jam San Jose. Heins insists that his aspirations are to become the market leader, but he’s talking to more than just developers when he takes the stage,
“If I go out there and say ‘I’m going to be number one!’ they’re going to say, this guy is a daydreamer.”
“We still have to prove ourselves. The final verdict is with the consumer and the enterprise customer,” Heins said.