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RIM's new CEO is willing to entertain BlackBerry licensing proposals

Thorsten Heins
By Simon Sage on 23 Jan 2012 01:08 pm EST
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Running through this morning's conference call again, Research In Motion's shiny new CEO, Thorsten Heins, had a lot to say about about BlackBerry's large-scale strategic direction, particularly previous hints that they would be willing to license the operating system to other manufacturers.

"Now, on the licensing piece, I'm absolutely confident that BlackBerry 10 will prove itself as a platform. If there is requests coming towards Research In Motion to talk about licensing that platform to other companies, I will entertain those discussions, I will listen, I will assess the business opportunity for RIM, and if it makes sense strategically and tactically to go down that path, then I will make the decision together with the board. It's not my focus one. My focus one is strengthen RIM's business based on their integrated approach because there's not many companies out there that have this. One is the other fruit company that has it, and one is us, and I want to leverage this. This is a very, very strong asset to have. A former colleague of mine once said 'trust you're successful in business when you're in the nervous system of your customers'. You can translate this into 'you're successful when you have the biggest value contribution to your customer's business', and this is where BlackBerry is, and this is where I want to stay, and this is what I want to build upon."

It's certainly not news that RIM is willing to flirt with cross-platform arrangements, what with the Android player running on the BlackBerry PlayBook, and iOS support on the way in RIM's enterprise management console. Historically, RIM had even shoehorned most of the OS into Windows Mobile, and with the relatively recent Bing partnership, it wouldn't be surprising to see another cross-over emerge for Windows Phone. 

Still, Thorsten made a point to say that this isn't a high priority, and that he has a ton of confidence in BlackBerry 10 to be able to stand on its own, thankyewverymuch. What do you guys think - is there a chance at a BlackBerry Connect revival?

Reader comments

RIM's new CEO is willing to entertain BlackBerry licensing proposals

33 Comments

I'm not for it Simon. I think it could create a few more problems that aren't needed right now, also BB10 is going to be AMAZING, they won't need to let other use it.

That's true, I just hope RIM would make this upgrade available for the previous models they relased last year. Bold 9900/9930, Torch, Curve. That way fans who bought these devices would not feel left alone and abandoned..

Everything I have read to date indicates not. So get used to that alone and abandoned feeling. But the mobile phone world is fast becomming an alone and abandoned universe, with new model mania driving the market and OS's that get frozen after release or obsolete altogether. And, of course, the obligatory small suitcase sized bricks they have become so folks can watch videos on a 5+in diagonal screen with a phone that does not fit in your pocket. I think cell phones will eventually evole into small bracelet type devices (ala the predator arm thingy) but much smaller rather then hand held devices.

As much as this has been said to not be happening, with everything Dingleberry has done to hack the PB OS, I don't think it's too far from reality that a hacked version of BB10 could be made available for the community, by the community. And if you are ready to upgrade from a Bold 99xx to one of the new BB10 devices, why not take a chance on installing this (currently my theoretical) hack of the new OS on your existing Bold? There is ample device storage for it, 1.2ghz processor, and I'm sure the handheld is capable. Time will tell and I'm not holding my breath mind you, but in this fashion I'm sure it's possible.

Boldly sent from my 9930

One is the other fruit company that has it, and one is us, and I want to leverage this. This is a very, very strong asset to have.

- iLike

Personally, I think that with how things are turning out for RIM, they might find their hands filled with requests for such licensing agreements. This may be debatable, but I think that tablets, mobile phones, and other gadgets in the next couple of years would be running either BB10, iOS, or Android.

I also think that connectivity between/among the different systems will also play a significant role. Whichever turns out the friendliest to the other systems, gets top position. If this would be the case, then I think RIM is well ahead of the others.

Biggest mistake the company ever made was stopping BlackBerry connect, its about time it focused on the complete solution rather than trying to compete at device level in the consumer space licencing the BB out to other manufacturers will drive adoption as it did in the past!!

Not to be the only odd ball but how are we able to speak so highly of bb10 when it's not even out? I mean I have a Playbook so I know that I'm excited for 2.0 and even 3.0. I own a 7.0 device so if there were a 8.0 device I ccan only imagine them building upon 7.0 and it being even sexier. What I can't imagine is how an os that is so awesome on a tablet will translate to useful on a phone. I'm not doubting that it will. I'm just saying that there is no proof or anything to go on.

I have my money ready for the next tablet (hopefully 10 inch to use both) but as far as the phone goes I have no evidence to get excited for bb10.....yet

While I appreciate all the optimism, I would have been more alarmed (and so would have investors, given the state of the company) to hear him reply otherwise. His response is littered with all the customary disclaimers "...assess business opportunities...". If licensing resulted in a significant return for investors, I couldn't care less if RIM chatted with Ron Popeil.

Very good point to highlight this statement Simon. I have a good feeling about this man and the path RIM is taking.

As an added note, people seem to forget 2 things :

-Building a mobile operating system and a completely new set of tools/UI/etc... on QNX is not an easy task. this takes time and tweaking..

-People have been asking for the Co-CEOs to step down for a long time. Now that they have, you still get a fair amount of nay-sayers bashing this man less than 24hours into the job. Just goes to show that some people are just negative in nature, or lead very sad lives.

Long live RIM, and long live the BlackBerry!

If he is talking about licensing out QNX for companies to use on their products which will make them more easily interface with BB10 phones or the Playbook, then I am all for that. In fact I have been pondering that the first time I went to the QNX web site.

QNX is more than a tablet and phone OS. http://www.qnx.com/

Yes, this is how I feel too. I'd like for RIM to license QNX, but not BlackBerry 10. They could license QNX to TV, appliance, and car manufacturers, which I believe would increase the functionality of BB10

I'm just against them licensing out BB10 to other OEMs. I'd much rather RIM stick with the "closed" strategy, like Apple.

I was going to say don't license at all, but I agree with your sentiment. If they do it at all, don't do it for the mobile market.

The testing of BES and integration of other platforms into it was a huge push into the 'multi-phone' support space for RIM. Once the outline of this puzzle is set down, I think QNX and the associate platforms that arise from it are going to be exceptional.

I am not doubting the guy.. There's a saying goes " ACTIONS SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS " no disrespect, I'm sure He would do great.. Thank you!

I think RIM should stick to the closed Apple model only with a significantly smaller line, 2-3 models max.

Do I want a Samsung that looks like a android running BB10? nope!

This blog post is funny... Seeing as though RIM is WELL on their way into getting Samsung to make a handset for BB10.... I for one am looking forward to my galaxy like handheld running QNX... Bring it!

I'd much rather RIM stick with their current proprietary model. I like BlackBerry hardware as much as I do the software, so wouldn't want BlackBerry OS on a Samsung or HTC device, I like it on my BB.

As for QNX though, I could see them licensing that and just through QNX, BB10 would grow in functionality. It would bring a lot of success to RIM.

Whatever he decides to do, I wish Mr. Heins the best of luck in taking RIM into the future! I'm confident BlackBerry 10 is going to be amazing!

Man, you guys need to go to youtube, immediately they are talking negatives about him already, geehz what a haterz.! I really hope he would make a big impack.!! put some jamz on our berries..

Licensing of QNX without the ecosystem is a laughable idea. Why would anyone pay when you have free alternatives with a strong ecosystem in place? Regardless how awesome the platform is. They first need to finally partner with and attract big developers.

Why? Simply for the money. LG, Samsung, HTC.... Don't kid yourself, all of these fellas would jump at the opportunity to make a "blackberry", and they'll turn a profit doing it....

Right... Two hardware vendors selling phones with an operating system lacking apps... Divide a shrinking market for two manufactureres so they can both be unsuccessful.

Yeah, sure. They are so eager to make blackberries that none even considered buying the whole company at the rock bottom price :). The answer is "network externalities". Ecosystems are self-reinforcing. Have you ever thought about why WP7 is having such a hard time establishing itself in the market. And that's with massive resources Microsoft is channeling to capture some of the market share. So who wants another platform? No one until it proves to be successful.

The failure points we have watched are poor guidance and missing self-imposed target dates. If he does nothing else besides hitting target dates and telling people realistically what is happening, then he will already be better than the previous leadership. Bottom line they need to get BB10 done, phones produced, approval from carriers, then get it into consumers hands. The only big thing I am waiting on now is who is chosen to head Marketing, and hopefully that will be a fresh face from outside the company.