Thorsten Heins' opinion editorial in The Globe and Mail... RIM will ‘empower people like never before’

Thorstein Heins
By Thorsten Heins on 3 Jul 2012 11:31 am EDT

[ This opinion editorial was written by RIM's CEO Thorsten Heins and originally published in the Globe and Mail. We just *had* to get it up here for CrackBerry Nation to read ASAP. ] 

Don't count BlackBerry out.

In recent weeks, it's become fashionable for pundits and market watchers to alternately eulogize Research In Motion as a fallen pioneer and demonize management for not chopping up the company to sell for parts.

As President and CEO of RIM, I understand the frustration and impatience of RIM's shareholders and their eagerness to see the company start to surface the underlying value we all know exists at RIM. But we do not believe RIM is a company at the end. Nor do RIM's current challenges hint at a larger Canadian problem of not being able to sustain successful technology companies.

Technology, and particularly mobile computing, is a globally dynamic industry where innovation is as likely to occur in Waterloo as it is in Seoul or Palo Alto or Stockholm.

Rather, we believe RIM is a company at the beginning of a transition that we expect will once again change the way people communicate. In technology, it is not if you have to change, but when you have to change, and we are in the earliest days of truly mobile computing - an era in which people interact with the world around them in ways we could barely imagine just a few years ago. With BlackBerry, RIM created the framework that gave people their first taste of an untethered yet completely connected life.

As we prepare to launch our new mobile platform, BlackBerry 10, in the first quarter of next year, we expect to empower people as never before. BlackBerry 10 will connect users not just to each other, but to the embedded systems that run constantly in the background of everyday life - from parking meters and car computers to credit card machines and ticket counters.

Those are big promises, I know; and some doubt whether RIM can pull it off. I am the first to admit that RIM has missed on important trends in the smart-phone industry - especially in the consumer domain, focusing on its core value system for successful products and services. We are working diligently on BlackBerry 10 in order to provide a compelling experience for our loyal enterprise customers and consumers. While we are in a very competitive and constantly changing market, customers benefit from this competition and continued innovation.

As this market grows and includes more people in more countries, there is more room - a true need, really - for alternatives. We see this every week with our developer community, who are attending sold-out BlackBerry 10 developer sessions around the world to leverage our platform and ecosystem in order to create and innovate for their communities. That is why RIM has chosen to pursue a strategy that eschews the homogenized sameness of competing ecosystems. To help with that task, we have reshaped the executive team and recruited telecommunications industry veterans with proven track records of success.

Innovation is never easy and rarely understood - but it is exciting.

To that point, some of what I read and hear is thoughtful and insightful; some, frankly, is just plain wrong. But the facts about RIM's business provide reason to believe that we can succeed, even as we take painful but necessary steps to focus our resources and build a lean, nimble organization focused intently on bringing BlackBerry 10 to market.

As some pundits write RIM's obituary, the company's global subscriber base continues to grow, to more than 78 million people in 175 countries. In many of those countries - some of the fastest growing markets in the world - RIM is the top smart-phone; and in some, RIM devices account for the top three spots. We have relationships with 650 carriers around the globe; RIM's reliability and security make it the first choice for countless government agencies and are part of the reason more than 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies deploy BlackBerry in their enterprises.

RIM has no debt. The company also has more than $2-billion in cash on its balance sheet, and generated $710-million in operating cash flow in its first quarter.

Simultaneously, RIM is undertaking a corporate overhaul that we expect will reduce annual operating expenses by more than $1-billion by the end of our fiscal year. Unfortunately, that requires us to become a much more focused and smaller organization.

These are just the steps we're ready to announce. As has been reported, RIM has hired outside advisers to help me and the other members of the executive team think about the business in new ways and to explore a range of alternatives that leverage our core strengths and build on the BlackBerry brand.

When I became CEO just over six months ago, I knew this would be a difficult and challenging job. RIM was - and remains - at a crucial juncture in its history. In response to our tough quarterly results last week, our employees received thousands of e-mails from around the world from retail customers, carrier partners, developers, family, friends and neighbours expressing their support and loyalty to BlackBerry. They are - like many of us - BlackBerry people by choice.

It reminded me just how much opportunity and promise there is within RIM, and how much of what makes BlackBerry special stems from our status as a small-town Canadian company.

While some who have never made the drive to Waterloo pontificate about software they have not seen or devices they have not touched, developers around the world are getting increasingly excited about the possibilities BlackBerry 10 offers. They see that innovation remains a core principle stretching back to RIM's earliest days above a bagel shop.

Written by RIM CEO Thorsten Heins and reposted from the The Globe and Mail

Reader comments

Thorsten Heins' opinion editorial in The Globe and Mail... RIM will ‘empower people like never before’



Well chump... try navigating around the 40 stupid a_s "contribute" comments you have posted and you'll find at least 3 of my comments that I have so called "contributed".

Look...I'll meet you in the middle, k? You can still post your replies laced with stupidity, but at least contribute one intelligent comment.

@mnhockeycoach99: post smart comments before smart ass replies

I guess I didn't know you were the chief content officer at CrackBerry...

1. stop stalking me.

2. I find it funny how many armchair CEOs there are on this site..yet most people can probably barely manage their checkbooks or get their kids to clean their room... yet they can turn around a multibillion dollar global organization... SUUUUUURE!!!

Stop stalking me back. Stop replying. Can you manage your checkbook or get your kids to clean their room? I thought so.

@mnhockeycoach99: post smart comments before smart ass replies

There is your post... now f_ck off. And yes, I can do both.. but I'm also not acting like an armchair CEO either.

ps. I fail to see how I'm stalking you when I'm responding to a comment you left for me. Way to be annoying though..

Until you post an intelligent comment (not a reply) I'll be on you like a fly on shit.

@mnhockeycoach99: contribute!

I am BlackBerry by Choice:

typing this comment on the PlayBook using the BlackBerry mini keyboard while checking my emails on my Bold 9900. Bring on BB10....

A good read. It seems that today's media blitz is timed for the upcoming AGM. Whatever the motivation, RIM will have to continue campaigns such as this to try and modify the "RIM story" before the release of BB10. The company needs to have consumers believe the product is truly innovative and desirable rather than a last ditch attempt at saving a once industry leading company. It takes time to turn the current story around and RIM needs to do more outreach such as today's blitz and the BB10 jams. This is especially true for the United States where home grown, American solutions such as Apple, Android and Microsoft are dominating consumer and media tastes.

"small-town Canadian company"? Hmmm.....? Makes me wonder if Thor has even been to Waterloo. It is not a small-town it has been a city for 60ish years and has a population of about 100,000 (not including the 20,000(ish) students).

Makes me wonder what else he is wrong about.

Verily I say, I love Thor!

Odinson you have renewed faith in mine heart for Ragnarok is not yet on the horizon for Asgard(a.k.a. Waterloo)!

Can everyone petition for a special one-off version of the first BB10 phone to be made just for Thor? Then it can be called the BlackBerry Mjolnir and he back plate can be made of stone with the engraving, "Whosoever be worthy of turning around RIM be granted the power of Thor."

I was about to say, where have we seen this before but when you think about it, you just don't know. With anything that's innovative, it is always something we thought of but never saw coming. That's what BB10 has to do. I don't care about roadmaps at this point because RIM is terrible at executing that. My concern is the great opportunities lost to get it out before back to school, black friday, and christmas. I hope they regain their footing because I want to get a BB 10 phone in 2013 when my contract expires. If it exceeds expectations, I'll get it before then. If it doesn't, like mobile technology, I'll evolve and get something else.

yes, i am blackberry by choice too. i'm glad Thor coming down from Asgard promising to give Mjolnir for everyone who choose it. he need to come down to earth more often. maybe i should write a story. lol, nah.

on a side note, i've just noticed that the tagline for crackberry is "The #1 Site for BlackBerry Users & Abusers". the first thing crossed my mind was i need to abuse my blackberry more lol. i need to abuse more blackberry :D

No doubt. It would be nice just to come out here and genuine comments from the CrackBerry faithful.. now you have to wade through the garbage posts from JD914, cbb19, Scroat, and others.

this is why crackberry is a laughing stock, anytime someone wants to voice their negative opinions, it's considered trolling. I don't suck dick, if I don't like something, i voice my opinion. you all will choke on the kool aid sooner than later

i think everyone is free to voice opinions, whatever it is. what makes it a trolling is saying it with hatred. or saying it again and again.

logically, if you don't like something you'll complain about it and if you're not satisfy you'll leave (because you can get the alternative elsewhere). but if you come back again and again only saying negative things then it means you have motives/reasons behind it that make you say it over and over again. that makes you a troll. as simple as that :)

mnhockeycoach99, do you have ANYTHING constructive or creative to add to the discussion/debate? All you do is come up with these stupid comments. You're of no value to this site.

Thanks mom. I'll take that into consideration when I look at my CrackBerry stats.. I bet the 90 "likes" I have received on 187 posts supports your assumption that "all I do is come up with these stupid comments and that I have no value to this site." /end sarcasm

Just because you receive 90 "likes" (which isn't even a functional feature on this website) doesn't make you some sort of go-to guy. Who the hell manually keeps track of those stats anyway?

Not on the main page articles genius.. but it is TRACKED in the forums. And I never said I was "some sort of go-to guy".. my point was basically telling you to STFU.

Point you in the right direction to what? Daycare? Didn't your mom drop you off this morning?

Try navigating around the 40 stupid a_s "contribute" comments you have posted and you'll find at least 3 of my comments that I have so called "contributed".

My mom is dead.

Are you talking about comments or replies? Because...

@mnhockeycoach99: post smart comments, not smart ass replies

I won't proclaim what I do or don't suck and I don't care what you do in the privacy of your home. Suck-don't suck- your business. But if you troll- people will call you on it.
BTW- I am not calling you a troll- just saying IF!

Oh- and I love blackberry Kool-Aid-sugar free- very refreshing!

Finally Heins fed up with the stock analyst/media try to manipulate RIM's stock to get it cheaper for their clients. Go get them Heins! Let's Rock'n Roll this!!!

Sounds like a bunch of political double talk. RIM has been resting on their laurels for quite some time, this most recent delay in BB 10 combined with the assurance that the app market for the PlayBook is going to continue to be abysmal at best is the last straw for this guy. I'm jumping off the BlackBerry ship and moving on. I do so reluctantly because i do believe that on a basic level RIM puts out a better product. But the lack of options for them is terrible and the slow rate of progress is sad. Besides the PlayBook which is very well priced, BlackBerry is very expensive. I refuse to spend my money on hopes, dreams and promises of things to come. RIM you've lost another customer, hopefully you'll get your act together in the future.

I'm curious.. you have such a negative outlook for RIM, yet you continue to post on a pro-BlackBerry site. Do you not have much to do... or just like sharing "the truth"?

Yeah...and your posts are so intelligent and filled with content.

blaah blaah blah blah... STFU

You're spelling out your words. We're making progress. Still waiting for that post though.

@mnhockeycoach99: contribute

Well chump... try navigating around the 40 stupid a_s "contribute" comments you have posted and you'll find at least 3 of my comments that I have so called "contributed".

Are they intelligent comments? Or nothing more than juvenile replies?

@mnhockeycoach99: post smart comments, not smart ass replies

I can't avoid your replies. They pop up like the plague. If this site has the option to block you I would.

@mnhockeycoach99: post smart comments before smart ass replies

Hey Bro... 1. you started replying to me. and 2. You don't like me responding to you.. then STOP RESPONDING TO ME. I'm seriously beginning to think you are either 5 years old ...or mentally challenged.

I just noticed the "by Thorsten Heins" under the CB headline, that must be a first. Anyway, aside from what was said in his editorial, I commend the new CEO and the other execs for controlling the message and trying to get in front of th bad news from last week. It's a bit late, but this is definitely a step in the right direction compared to Mike & Jim.

I'm staying because I like my phone, my PlayBook and the interoperability. But it's going to get far worse for RIM before it gets better. I'm due an upgrade and was holding out for BB10 in Q3. I'm absolutely(!) NOT buying a Sys 7 phone in the interim and i can't think I'm alone. I envision next to zero BB 7 sales -- at least in North America -- in Q3or Q4. I can easily imagine six months with virtually no revenue for RIM while dedicated BB customers wait the new system.
Luck to the company... I'm among those hoping for the best for RIM.

OK, I get it. Here's what I'm hearing: BB can't or won't compete for the broader consumer domestic markets because that takes deep pockets and the ability to react fast to shifting consumer behavior. Instead, BB expects to grow it's revenue stream by meeting the higher volume but lower expectations of foreign markets, staid corporate managers willing to forgo cutting edge applications, and it's small but loyal core constituency. Since BB doesn't need to move fast to meet the needs of the broader marketplace it can conserve capital by cost cutting and realign RIM to dominate a uniquely defined market of it's own choosing.

So -- depending on whether you are willing to wait for RIM's still to be defined vision and whether that vision includes your needs or not is up to you.

This is why I'm sticking with BlackBerry and support them every time I hear someobdy trying to cut them down.

Will RIM deliver on BB10 Q1 2013? I sure hope so. Will RIM return to their glory days with a huge market share? I'll wait and see. It's this line that keeps me with RIM products though:

"While some who have never made the drive to Waterloo pontificate about software they have not seen or devices they have not touched, developers around the world are getting increasingly excited about the possibilities BlackBerry 10 offers"

Most of the negative comments I experience ever day are from people that have no clue about RIM products but continue to digest the drivel they are blindly fed from other Smartphone providers. If they are enjoying their own choice of products, good for them, I'm doing the same with what I have chosen. I've never tried to educate others about non-RIM products because I've never had the interest to use them, therefore I have no reason to shoot them down. While some experience problems with RIM products, I'm on my 4th model of BlackBerry and have never once had a problem that wasn't fixed with the help of the fine people on this site, and that includes the Storm 2 that I have before my current 9860. (that's right, never once had a problem with my Storm 2, I loved that phone!!!)

While it was never said in the article, I'll say it.... LETS ROCK AND ROLL THIS!

He hasn't said anything new.... And the fact that he's facing a hostile AGM makes me wonder as to his real motives. It'll be an interesting meeting for sure. Trust me, I'm from HQ isn't going to go over well. (Spoken as someone who really wants them to succeed but believes the next two quarters will evaporate their cash and that too many of their existing 78M customers have obsolete phones and won't wait for them to get their shit together).

I REALLY hope I'm wrong as I love my PlayBooks but I'm very pessimistic after being burned with almost the same messages on the Storms, the PlayBook and now BB10.

Many predicted last year's AGM would be a hostile environment. It turned out to be a cordial businesslike event. I wish I could go there, share my opinion and/or provide some suggestions.

Ps. I love my PlayBook too!

While I often take messages from CEOs and politicians with a large grain of salt, I will say that it is admirable and a positive move to see RIM execs and Heins actively and personally going to the media and reaching out to the public. Their actions do suggest that they are earnestly trying to revive the ailing company, instead of keeping quiet or giving up.

I've never been a "fan" of anything much, let alone a fan of a private company, but I do wish RIM all the best, in this case (maybe because it's a home-built company, i.e. Canadian, and the fact that I really like their products).

I will patiently wait for BB10 next year but do know that consumers will not forgive another delay (that's the reality).

~I am BlackBerry by choice~

Today early I have read 2 more articles on major business sites, including one on CNBC that continued to doubt RIM's road forward and included the word bankruptcy. RIM"s CEO needed to come out and counter this tide of negative stories - the fact of the matter that left unchecked - these stories wind up becoming self fulfilling prophecies. Important people read them, people who will make decisions on their companies going forward. If the general perception out there is that RIM is on a path to bankruptcy they will avoid RIM and their products and services. In this way the CEO must come out and offer a concise vision on their road forward - maybe he did that in his missive above. Marketing certainly keeps supplying him with quotable platitudes.

I am glad to hear RIM has understood that they need to provide services their competition are already providing - I don't see anything new in his statements, just that RIM will offer a competitive product (finally).

I continue to have questions about the numbers the CEO continues to espouse. They increased "operating cash flow" is a straw man. They don't currently have a product to build except the new Curves, they have an overstock of phones and tablets they can't sell so they aren't reinvesting in Cap Ex - building out equipment folks will actually buy. I also read something in the CNBC article today regarding the amount of money RIM is investing in R&D and how it's just a small percentage of what Apple and Google are spending on their products
Folks know they have cash on hand but that 2 billion dollars is going to go fast once they have to start to build out the BB10 products while they are losing money on their current inventory, and paying to lay off 1/3rd of their current workforce.

I know Thor is reading these articles because he quoted one in his "surface underlying value" is almost a word for word quote from the CNBC article this morning. They should continue to use them as inspiration to move BB10 forward with that "laser focus" he keeps telling us they have.

I don't understand what took him so long to step up and defend his company. Despite all the trolling, bashing and blog hating sites, I knew from RIM financial statement that they were never in the deep hole. Still profitable and doing well globally but why stand still and take some blows from the media. This goes to show their marketing is crap. It took them this long to approve their CEO to counteract the rumours. Isn't it too late?

I'm abit confused. If QNX on the playbook did not sell what would make the same platform a hit on BB10? What are they doing differently?

It is all about the user interface. BB10 will be a more robust "cover" on QNX. The current PB OS is only a portion of what is going to make up BB10.

Here is the thing. In actuality, RIM is doing exactly what they said they would do. Let’s not forget that RIM was a very successful company that was almost entirely a government and business company. At least here in the United States. RIM said they would focus on their core business, which means government and corporate businesses. That is a very different animal than the consumer market. The business market can handle a pushback until Q1 2013. The consumer market? Not so much. However, if you can get some corporate folks on board and stop the bleeding there, it will trickle down to the consumers once again. Think about it. That’s what happened initially. Corporate folks who had BlackBerries liked them and wish they had one for personal use, thus the company took serious foray into the consumer market. Right now, many corporate folks are demanding a BYOD (Bring your own device) model because Blackberry is seriously lacking versus their private phones. So if BB10 is a hit in the corporate world, it will trickle down to consumers. Their best way to recover is to go back to what built them up in the first place, which was the business/government markets. Face it, if they totally lose out there, they will truly cease to exist. While it stinks as a consumer, they have to sustain and build again, and that will take a ground up approach. There was a time when Nokia was king, and they faltered. Then Palm ruled with the Treo until the Curve was released by RIM as a consumer device. Each of these devices bested the previous king. Right now, Android and Apple are fighting it out. RIM doesn’t have to be #1 to survive. But they do need to be able to have a device on par with their current competition. I’m hoping that’s what Blackberry 10 provides. Again, they just need to be able to do as much, not more, as a BB already is better in certain areas. They did not get into this drastic hole in a day. It’s foolish to think it will climb back out in a day either.

I know that it's only one more, but today, I ordered another Bold 9900 for a new employee.
We have a bunch of BlackBerries in our company, and we have no reason to ever switch to another brand.

Most people don't know how difficult it is to turn around a company. I have gone through the experience and continue to be impressed by Thorsten Heins' approach. The last decision is a tough one but it is consistent with his value set of quality launches. When things are going wrong everyone in the media is throwing rocks at you. So it is very hard to turn the tide. RIM may have misjudged the reaction of the core blackberry community on this decision. However, it may serve as a catalyst for the company. There is nothing like the cold water of reality being splashed in your face. If anyone was delusional at RIM they are not anymore. Thorsten can use this to galvanize and get laser focus. I personally am betting that Thorsten pulls this off. I like they way he just keeps moving ahead with his strategy. I do not hear him wine about his situation, he just adjusts to the cards he was dealt.

To put this as simply and concisely as possible, RIM is building a system that has the potential to integrate embedded systems with cloud computing. And anybody with any understanding of these systems will appreciate the vast potential of what RIM is in the process of bringing to the market. Once I did my research into QNX, I had no doubt about the game changer that RIM was looking to build and I firmly believe that the Apples, Androids and Microsoft will be hard pressed to compete with the new BlackBerry devices for quite some time. If it takes a little longer to get to market, then I am more then willing to wait a bit longer as well. To me it is obvious that RIM has taken a long hard look into the future trends of computing and communications and everything they have done to date, has been done to properly position themselves to take advantage of those future trends.
I don't know about anyone else, but I think RIM is one of the most innovative and visionary companies on this planet.

Oh, and I still love my current BB devices.

Heins is correct that BB10 has to be functional and not be released like the PB was. I am glad he came out and talked of RIM riding this out and not announcing a sell off of the company. It disturbs me that he had to announce a delay and not be announcing an early release. Once again it appears RIM can not manufacture a viable product in a timely fashion. I was hoping he could get the people working around the clock to release the BB10 before expected to show that RIM finally has it's act together. If it takes till 2013 to release a phone that everyone will be happy with then we have no choice. But surely they can do something to let the world know that RIM is alive. Bring the Playbook to what it was originally suppose to be. Use it to draw excitement to BB10. Offer direct to consumers a discounted BB7 sidestepping the carriers locking in everyone to new contracts. Provide some alternative to leaving BB or just waiting till next year. Give us something tangible to hold us till next year. Sell unlocked discounted BB7 phones direct to consumers

Whatever else he might say, he has a good point. Zero debt, $2billion in the bank and growing subscriber base. Doesn't sound like a dying company to me.
Of course, they are a public company, so if majority of the shareholders are weenies, then they could force RIM to get chopped up and sold off.

What I think RIM should do in the meantime, anyone who buys a BB7 phone now gets a discount on BB10 phones when it comes out. That might help things for a bit...


Who cares it was copied and pasted, it gave everyone an opportunity to read it here instead of going to the Globe and Mail, you are missing the point, maybe you forgot this website is Crackberry, for Blackberry, and if I'm wrong we are all BlackBerry fans, however, opinions are like belly buttons, every body has one, and some stink. I personally liked to have read what Thorsten ("Thor") thinks about of what I'm sure has to be one of the hardest job he has taken up in his career and that is keeping alive a company who many in its own territory thought was going to die. I'm hopeful of BlackBerry and BlackBerry 10, and I am a fan til the end, many peoples livelihoods depend on it lest not forget that too.

I want to propose that we open a forum discussion titled: "Let's scratch each other's eyes out because I get SOO emotional about my Blackberry". I'm starting to realise most of my fellow Blackberry users are infants with serious unresolved issues. Some of you need to see a specialist istead of releasing your "issues" on this website.

A small data point, from a person who runs a very small companies IS/IT and is repsonbible for the cellphone spending here. We currently have 18 iPhones and 7 Blackbery phones. Going forward, there will not be any more Blackberry phones purchased. The current ones will be used unitl their contract runs out, and then they will all transition to iPhones. I cannot justify amy more pruchases of any BB phones unit the status of BB 10 is resolved. I have 3 BB phones coming up for renewal from Sept. to Dec. of this year. I made the decision, and the company owner approved it.

The 3 BB users transitioning to iPhones aren't real happy with the decision, but I will NOT, under any circumstances buy any BB7 Phones. This is what the delay means. My 3 phones are truly insignificant, I know, but multioply that out by many small businesses, and even medium and large businesses, and you begin to get an idea of what this delay will really cost RIM, and how this "we're fine, we aren't going anywhere, BB10 will be the best thing since sliced bread" talk really isn't geting them anywhere. I have a business need for new phones, and RIM doesn't have acceptable product according to me.