Bloomberg’s interview with Thorsten Heins shows that BlackBerry’s game plan hasn’t changed

BlackBerry 10
By Chris Umiastowski on 13 Aug 2012 05:01 pm EDT

Our friend Hugo Miller from Bloomberg had an interview with Thorsten Heins today. The headline of the story was, "RIM Says BlackBerry 10 Will Soon Be Ready for Licensing".

The article itself is quite clear. But if you don't bother to actually read it, you might jump to the (wrong) conclusion that RIM intends to get other smartphone makers to build BB10 smartphones. That's not the case.

As Thorsten has said many times before, RIM is a company that wants to leverage its BlackBerry platform beyond smartphones. QNX, the micro kernel that powers BlackBerry 10, is already designed into many cars, for example. RIM envisions a world where its BlackBerry platform powers many machine-to-machine communications.

Heins also repeated his goal with the words "We're here to win" line. This isn't new either. RIM isn't looking to be the 3rd of 4th place vendor. They're aiming for numero uno. Sure, that's a tall order, and it may not even be achievable. But why in the world would you set your sights on being 3rd? Do you think any Olympic athletes stood at the starting line of a race thinking, "I am shooting for bronze"? Of course not. You shoot for gold, and you compete your very best.

The quote you should remember from Bloomberg's story is this one: "Smartphones are a part of our business, but we're looking way beyond this."

So, no... RIM is not suggesting, confirming, or even leaning towards a public stance that BlackBerry 10 is available to its competition. That's not the case at all.

If you see anyone writing otherwise, send the journalist a polite email with a link to this story.

Reader comments

Bloomberg’s interview with Thorsten Heins shows that BlackBerry’s game plan hasn’t changed


Just imagined myself having to do a battery pull on my car.... ;)

While the future possibilities of QNX are great... they really need to work on one thing at a time, and make sure that they get that one thing done correctly and ON TIME!

QNX on a car isn't the future, it's already implemented in many cars that are out on the market today. So your first statement doesn't make sense and isn't even remotely funny.

And I agree on the being on time part.

Calm down pooter no one was trying to offend you, the truth is blackberry has a serious issue with battery pulls but haven't you ever heard the term "poking fun" at something?

Grab a PlayBook and make it crash. Nobody is offended, we just don't like people who don't know the facts.

Anything a can crash. I have owned 2 pbs and have done hard resets on it. Although it needs way less rebooting than my 9900

They mostly require hard resets for OS updates or major software changes. Its very very rare that a playbook will crash out iif an app crashes. Usually it crashes the app and the OS shuts the app down so you can manualy reboot.

I find it very easy to make a PlayBook crash. all you have to do is load up applications or games and while they load sneak a look at your top bar (swipe from top corner)

I can't tell you how many times my PlayBook has crashed (and sometimes in meetings or while demoing it to people) and it sucks! But! I understand why and how it crashes and expect a more polished and stable QNX based OS in the future.

There is no doubt in my mind the first PlayBook was rushed out to market and that's okay. Don't say it's impossible to make it crash though.

The idea is to let them load, then add another, and another and another, then preview them all, not attempt to do it while loading each. Of course it'll crash.

I've done the same thing you want, but patience is the key here. Let them load, and then smile as everyone goes ooooo ahhhhhhh.

Of course I know how to avoid crashing (and event then, my PlayBook has crashed at awkward times when I wasn't trying to do anything special). I was just letting it known that it is easy to crash the PlayBook if you know what you're doing/ don't know what you're doing.

Android hasn't fixed the battery pulling issue either. Why single RIM out like they are the only company with problems that's silly.

Where other vendors would put their OS in a Yugo and tell you it is magical and will outrun a Ferrari! BB10 is not BBOS and doesn't require battery pulls either.

IDK about you, but disconnecting the negative terminal of the car to reset lights / sensor tables / fueling tables when you make changes to a car's drivetrain system is pretty common.

So yeah... I have done battery pulls on my own car ;)

Chris, your conclusions about BB10 licensing are contrary to stories Crackberry recently posted, with Heins claiming that licensing BB10 would be the only way to compete with major competitors (numbers).

Heins might have slightly mentioned that for a lower end of a spectrum of "smartphones". I think it is more of an array of products outside of smartphones and Tablets interconnected to bring you to BlackBerry that they're focusing on.

camera531, Chris specifically clarified this mistaken interpretation in another one of his articles. Heins was talking about wanting better economies of scale to compete with companies like Huawei for the lower end of the market, or the market RIM is currently supplying with 9220s. Heins also made it very clear that RIM could take care of business with BB10s for mid to high-range handsets. Also, Chris's point about BB10 licensing is that Heins is mainly talking about licensing BB10 not to other handset manufacturers but instead to companies involved in all the different varieties of machine-to-machine communication.

Need quotes here:

If you see anyone writing otherwise, send the "journalist" a polite email with a link to this story.

Now you can send to BGR.

QNX is the future...I own a 9900 and a PlayBook, my 2012 Honda Civic Si has QNX technology built into it, its the way the automotive industry is going and QNX is way ahead.

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This is true unless the guy next to you goes by the last name of "bolt" then you shoot for silver or bronze ;)

Still not true. You have to go out with an "Anything is possible" attitude because you never know when somebody is gonna cramp, sprain something, or pull a hammie. If you aren't shooting for #1 then WTF are you doing there?

Same here
I personally would dislike to see OS 10 on another device that's not BlackBerry... It just doesn't seem right.
I understand that RIM wants to keep its brand alive but I hope they don't have to take it up to that point
Either BlackBerry succeeds or they disappear completely. I wish for the first statement to become a reality

Are you sure he was talking phones though?

What about installing BB10 in your washing machine so you can control it remotely?

Or in your fridge so you can check the contents remotely from the supermarket.

Or in a fleet of trucks for tracking purposes and to communicate revised delivery instructions to drivers.

Almost anything could run BB10.

Thanks for the clarification, whoever you are! I feel stupid for my lack of comprehension when I read texts!
I'd be nice to see an iPod or PS with BB10 lol

Read the post again. After you think you've absorbed it, read it again. I dunno. To me it was pretty clear. Just saying :)

Some of the analysis from "journalists" seems to be woefully lacking.......just listened to a section on RIM's "new strategy" on licensing, and have never been so surprised about their lack of research or interest in staying up-to-date.

#surprised and #dissapointed.....

Less talk, more announcements. We all know they want to license BB 10 (and QNX Car 2) but no one seems the least bit interested. I want to see a Toyota, or a Volkswagen, or a GM announce Car 2 will power their infotainment system. I want to see a Coke or a Pepsi announce a new line of interactive vending machines powered by BB 10. I want to see a Honeywell announce some cool BB 10 powered thermostats. I want to see a GE announce BB 10 will power their home appliances. I want RIM to send a prostitute of choice to every single executive and board member over at Amazon to get them to switch from Android to BB 10 on their Kindle products. An amazon switching to BB alone would secure RIMs future and the stock would be double digits by lunch time on the day of the announcement and the doubters would be silenced. They are not direct competitors even in the Tablet space.

I want to see what Frank can do. I'm glad he was responsible for some of the biggest deals in US telecom history while at Lightsquared, but now I want to see the multi-million dollar licensing deals signed for BB 10. A resume is great but I need to see what he is going to do for RIM now and in the future.

Less talk. More Action. BlackBerry people do. Get some deals signed.

Toyota already took on QNX their upcomin, and already done, Toyota Entune infortainment system .

Yes, they use QNX, but NOT the BB10/Car 2 Platform. They are using the Neutrino Micro-Kernel but their own front end. RIM needs the Car 2 Platform and the BB 10 Platform to be licensed. RIM clearly isn't getting much in the way of licensing fees for the Neutrino Micro-Kernel and they aren't getting their logo on a splash screen or on a dashboard in the way Microsoft has done so successfully with Sync and Uvo.

Heck, RIM should even be looking at cross licensing. They licensed Teleatlas maps from TomTom, they should pitch BB 10 to them as a UI for their nav systems. Garmin uses QNX but no one yet uses BB 10.

The embedded nature of QNX means that the companies that license it don't have to co-brand it with RIM.

That's why I want to see Frank and his team get those contracts signed and get some momentum going. RIM would have a fantastic value proposition for BB 10 if it seamlessly integrated and communicated with other things we as consumers use every day. Plus RIM needs to get a BB logo on everything so consumers make the connection.

Great comments SUperionMaximus! Your words are the only thoughtful ideas I have seen in those posts (sorry to other guys).

As I wrote before, BB10 (QNX+) is a pan-platform OS, meaning it's not only for smartphone, but also for other so-called machines! Just like QNX itself is not for cars, but now also for playbooks. RIM's future really lies in "soft", not in "hard" - a transformation of business model - from hard to soft. It takes time and pain to make the transformation happen and succeed. Let's take a look at QualComm's history and its success in CDMA and now in smartphone industry. What can you learn or what can RIM learn from QualComm? For RIM, in order to get BB10 embedded into many, different paltforms, they have to build a pan-ecosystem in which BB10 is proved to be good enough to get things done.

So the future success story of RIM would be it's a software (OS)/core components/integrated-solution provider for as many machines as possible, say those in smartphone, M2M sectors. RIM's revenues will come from two main sources: platform/IP licensing fees + service fees. And these fees can be charged through each smartphone sale/car sale/any other machine embedded with RIM's IP. That's the future for RIM, and why RIM's market campaign titling "Be Bold", 'cause the strategic transformation and change of business model is always not easy, and people at RIM should be really really bold and lucky enough so that the biggest move in the company's history will be a big success.

Unless i misunderstand your post, you seem to want to know everything about BB10 five months before it's released or licensed. If so... Fail. Other than that, you're not ten years old and RIM isn't Santa... At least not until Q1 2013

Who said anything about knowing everything about BB 10?

I know it is going to be Q4 at the earliest before RIM starts letting anything new about the platform leak.

What I am talking about is I want to see what Wall St wants to see. Signed contracts that give the market as well as consumers some indication that this new platform is going to have some traction and RIM is going to be able to leverage it not just to catch up in smart phones but also through licensing and service revenues. That's what I want to see.

Imagine how awesome it would be for RIM to get a GE (they are already a QNX customer) or a top 5 automaker to announce they will be licensing BB 10 or Car 2. That would instantly add to the value proposition of the platform. That's what RIM also has been repeatedly saying they want to do. I'm just saying I want them get some big name companies on board BEFORE the consumer launch of BB 10 phones next year.

Agree with you, that'd be a great move and needs to be Done. QNX Car 2 needs to get in vehicles asap

With the comments in the article that Heins said...does it sound like they may license BB10 out for let's just say...Laptop makers? They want BB10 to be a complete mobile device...why not a Laptop OS to compliment their mobile devices and tablets, similar to Apple. Have a complete ecosystem in which all devices connect seamlessly!

Heins said that BB10 is in the "final testing stage" and that he now carries a BB10 device as his personal phone. So why do we still have to wait until 2013? Is RIM simply scared to go up against IOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 this fall. That really seems to be the case. I'd bet that they could have it out the door well before 2013.

More likely that testing will result in some major work to be done. Plus it's not like they can just throw this onto the market. Once engineering is done, Sales and marketing need to roll the new platform out. This can take time.

Failure is a luxury they cannot afford.

Recent failures include Windows Phone 7 and webOS 2. Windows Phone 8 looks like being a qualified failure. Motorola phones are currently engaged in the same layoffs as RIM. HTC is struggling. Who were LG? Nokia is a shadow of its former self. Asus and Acer haven't really made inroads into the phone market, though Asus makes some nice tablets.

RIM's competition is really down to Apple and Samsung, who are currently trying everything short of actual shooting war to gain advantage over one another. People who buy Windows Phone 8 are not part of RIM's target audience. RIM needs a device which is tougher, more secure and more usefully configurable than the iPhone, with real multitasking. If they achieve it, I for one will buy it.

A few months is neither here nor there. But on Day 1 they must release a phone to the public that is seen by a significant number of people as being better than the iPhone 5 or the S3.

So long as they have half a year or so of sales to gain traction before the iPhone 6, they have a chance.

He also did an interview with CNET, he basically says he wants to license BB10 to any industry that is interested--from healthcare to power grids.

Guess it could sell more BB...

(edit: in that same article Heins says he also wants to rent out the BB network to companies who are interested in a secure he is indeed looking at leveraging everything).

Lots of guessing going on, it appears that BB 10 is much closer than most of us were led to believe. Makes me wonder if there is some kind of partnership holding things up here. I don't care if 100,000,000 other phones make use of BB 10 if it means it is light years ahead of everyone else and RIM gets $ 5/month in revenue for it. Go RIM!

Hope someone can help me better understand what is happening ...Question: If RIM licensed Blackberry 10 OS does that mean that RIM will still make the Blackberry phones but the OS will be available for other providers (similar to Android)? Montoya from Bermuda

Yes the plan is if rim decides to license (and thats a big if)blackberry will still make berries but you can also expect the other hardware maker to produce their own phones. I dont think it will be anywhere close to android since rim really only needs one partner

"Do you think any Olympic athletes stood at the starting line of a race thinking, "I am shooting for bronze"?"

If your a Canadian athlete you do...

No surprise, but Johnathan Geller over at BGR is misleadingly speculating that RIM will rely on licensing for BB10 BlackBerry phones.

In fact, RIM plans to license BB10 for other mobile computing platforms and possibly low-end phones, but will continue to make the ultra-premium BlackBerry handhelds despite what Geller suggests.

(full disclosure: I hate that pompous ass)

This was not mentioned about the Bloomberg article but is worth mentioning: T Heins now carries around a BB10 phone for his own use. That says a lot about what stage the OS is in.

It's not clear if he carries another phone around for primary use (i.e. for emails and phone calls) or if the BB10 phone is now his go to device, but that would tell us much more about which state the OS is in.

Wondering if we'll get some leaked footage of a working unit. Part of me wants to see, but the other part of me thinks it's better that it not leak until it's ready (you know, to build up a good hype).

In an earlier interview, Thorsten said he always carried around 2 devices... one BB and one of the competition. He rotates those through iOS and Android (and presumably Windows 8 phones when they come).

I know they have some builds going but it is no where near ready for prime time yet. I'm glad one of the builds is good enough to give to him but that doesn't mean its ready for us. They have to get this right the first time. There can be no PlayBook like screwup this time around.

Can someone please read the article in question. I don't find anything revelational in it. So Thor is carrying around a BB10 prototype. Well duh, it is the middle of August and if you want this product ready by January, you have to start production in mid October. It is only 8 weeks away. The platform needs to be nearly baked by now. Likewise,why shouldn't Thor view the new platform as more than a smartphone OS. I sure as hell hope someone is thinking on this scale. It is refreshing to see a bit of vision that moves beyond the endless debate about apps. And of course, this could mean licensing when practical. Time to move on and embrace the future.

Thanks Chris, your article wasn't as sexy as "BLACKBERRY IS SELLING. THE FARM," but I sure appreciated and enjoyed it much more.

Why does every announcement or interview that Thorsten gives needs to be clarified!?!?! Every time this guy opens his mouth he either contradicts something or says something that makes no sense and then we have to post mortem every word. C'mon RIM - get this guy some competent handlers!

No - he does no such thing. He states things like an engineer, clearly and accurately. The problem is, seemingly, American journalists who are looking for a story and so reinterpret his remarks in the way most favourable to claiming some sort of scoop.

Put bluntly, if Steve Jobs made the same remarks they would have been interpreted positively and the editor would have been very careful, because Apple is a big powerful American company with a huge advertising spend. As RIM is perceived as powerless, they can be treated as a disposable story generator. Having PR flacks around won't help - they have no influence either.

Last weekend the UK Guardian newspaper had an "article" about people's phone screensavers - really. Amazingly, every single one has an iPhone 4S. Yet some of them were under 25, and BB is the most popular phone for UK under-25s. This was surely nothing to do with the full page iPhone advert, was it?

I think this is great! QNX looks awesome and if it could be licensed to samsung or htc that would be a wicked combo. Imagine the GS3's beautiful screen with rimm's software.

Eternal BB pessimist. "You want to come back from being beaten down but you'll never come back. Stay down!". Fail.

That title should read: "RIM's BlackBerry 10 plan still on track". In other words, it has not deviated -- their vision is clear and it's all engines go!!

Some investors may think: "they're still on a doomed course". I don't think you want to suggest that to be the case. There are a lot of upsides to RIM's strategy over the past three years -- it's perhaps taken a little longer than expected to get it ramped up! BB6 was the first big change in BBOS towards a much richer and integrated user interface.

Be Bold.
Thorsten and Co. are certainly taking the long view.

Release the Playbook (half-baked) to have real world testing of M2M communications.
Use playbook to develop ecosystem prior to BB10 release.
License BB10 to other industries concerned with security.
Enable end-user to seamlessly share data across all "platforms" (ie BB in your car, in your business, or in your private life.

its a long view and a long shot, but if it plays out "be bold" will be an understatement.
28/shr in three years, 35/shr in five years, 70/shr in ten. at which point we'll go through this all again as the next OS gets rolled out. Hopefully a little more smoothly.

I wish they would've taken a picture of Thor with the BB10 device.


The difficult, we do immediately. The impossible takes a little while longer.

Lots of guessing going on, it appears that BB 10 is much closer than most of us were led to believe. Makes me wonder if there is some kind of partnership holding things up here. I don't care if 100,000,000 other phones make use of BB 10 if it means it is light years ahead of everyone else and RIM gets $ 5/month in revenue for it. Go RIM!