Stock Talk: Here’s The Message RIM’s CEO Sent to Analysts Yesterday

RIMM Stock Talk!
By Chris Umiastowski on 3 Feb 2012 06:00 pm EST

RIM's new CEO, Thorsten Heins, has been a busy guy doing media interviews over the last couple of weeks. But yesterday he took some time to chat with Bay Street sell-side analysts in Toronto who cover the stock.

What did he say? We've had a chance to read through some notes from analysts who attended and here are the big points:

He is acutely aware of the weakness in RIM's marketing: Thorsten reportedly said that RIM was so busy getting the BB7 products finished that it neglected marketing. I guess that's what happens when you don't have a CMO right? Or should I say, when your prior co-CEO decides to "own" the marketing position?

BlackBerry 10 quality more important than timing: It very much sounds like Thorsten wants to ensure that when BB10 is out on the market there is no reason for any criticism. Although he didn't speak of the app ecosystem, I hope this is a big part of his thinking. RIM intends to ensure that the product has very clear and demonstrable differentiation (such as multitasking). No change to the "later in 2012" release expectation.

RIM gained 3% share in Latin America last quarter: Thorsten pointed out RIM made these gains even though Android releases were in full force. Hey, we get it. People just want their BBM!

They wouldn't even talk about a sale of the company: Analysts will always dig into juicy topics, and Thorsten reportedly wouldn't even enter into any discussion on selling RIM. Sounds like it's off the table. Somebody would have to go hostile to acquire them.

Management changes? Thorsten fielded some questions about the network outage that recently happened, and just the fact that this is still on people's minds makes me wonder if some heads will finally roll for this disaster. He also told analysts that the company's communications with investors needs to improve. No disagreement there! My guess is that RIM's new CEO will be making senior management changes to fix some of what he perceives as problem areas.

So there you have it, folks. Those are the kinds of things analysts are asking RIM's new CEO about these days.

What would you be asking him? Let us know in the comments.

Reader comments

Stock Talk: Here’s The Message RIM’s CEO Sent to Analysts Yesterday


What kind of changes will be taking place(if any) in terms of RIM's relationships with US carriers?. . .Oh and FIRST!?


Yes, he's communicating more but he really hasn't shown us any major changes that he's planning. The point of changing CEOs is to bring changes, and the vibe I'm getting from this guy is that he's saying everything's fine or there are positive statistics to back up the current situation; it's quite obvious that things are not fine and he's getting this position because people demand change.

I mean it's clear you can't bring changes in a month but there should at least be some sort of plan or announcement about some broader direction of future plans.

I know a lot of people here and this guy blames everything on marketing and keep emphasizing that things will turn around with more aggressive marketing. Yes, RIM has terrible marketing, but marketing is far from being the only cause of RIM's fall. BlackBerry doesn't even have an identity now, whereas iPhone is seen as a media phone and android phones as highly-customizable phones and even windows phone is emerging as a social media phone, RIM is launching phones/tablet like full touch which undermines its image as a business phone manufacturer and the Playbook has no practical business functions.

If RIM continues to step away from its own image without establishing a new one in the next generation, I really don't see any chance for it to survive in the long run and neither should it. Afterall, the other companies did put in all the effort to develop and market their phones as tools that satisfy a particular target group and establishes very clear images for their respective phones.

I'd ask him when RIM plans on launching a traditional form factor many people that have BlackBerrys are loyal RIM customers and have stayed with BlackBerry because of the keyboard. I think this is pretty important..

I'd really like to see RIM stick to about 3-4 models for their devices (full touch, bold keyboard, slider, modified like the pearl or something) and focus on making those the most innovative that they can possibly. The last thing I want to do is lose my keyboard. Making the devices in different colors or with partnerships such as the one with Porsche will give the impression to the consumers that there are more devices on the market than reality.

I just really want RIM to get a CMO and to remember that they created the smartphone market - they should be doing everything possible to show people why they originally pioneered the market.

I completely agree. As much as people love all touch screen devices, I still think having a few different devices like you mentioned would be a good idea.

How many times must it be said.. The london is only the FIRST BB10 phone. They dont need to make a qwerty phone as their flagship phone, those days are passed. Yes they will still make them but they dont need to heavily market them. Fans of qwerty phones will buy them. RIM cannot survive on just being a niche player, they need to expand their market share by creating that wow factor phone that people want. You will get your keyboard, dont worry.

nobody will see it as a "wow factor phone", people will see it as the phone I had last year. BB will have lost all its defining characteristics if it were to market a flagship model that is neither productive nor innovative. We all know what Playbook 2.0 does, and that's pretty much the os for the phone, and it's not really a competitor to iOS5 and ice-cream sandwich. If they don't play the business phone card with all the productive things like keyboard trackpad added in, I genuinely think they are dead.

They are not turning around, they are just turning toward a cliff that they about to fall off.

So then tell me... What are you still doing here? All you do is babble on about whatever negative bullshit you can come up with over and over. You realize that this a fansite yes? If all you can do is shit on everything then how about you move along to any of the other techblogs that have tons of people doing just that? You'll feel right at home I'm sure.

i agree totally> its the "wow" factor that is missing - my bold is a dang good phone however it does not possess wow factor. iphone sells because of wow - if i compare the phoned the list doesnt flatter the RIM flagship. 5mp camera vs 8mp, capacity edge iphone etc, and Siri is cool. I prefer the 9900 keyboard and replaceable battery but overall it lacks "wow". That said i am saving money for the inevitable qnx phone!!!

I agree that the "wow" or "cool" factor is missing from Blackberry phones. I know for me, my phone (9780) is strictly used as a communications device for that is what it excels at. Games? Utterly horrible. Apps? I have some - package tracker apps; communication apps, news apps, digital radio apps. And they all work well. I do alot of browsing from the phone as well if I dont have my playbook with me. So for me, my phone works well but it's exactley that - a work device. Now that's not a bad thing but the phone is certainly not "fun".

And I guess that's the quandry that RIM faces: do you continue making a phone that is primarily a messaging device with some business and media apps thrown in; or do you make an entertainment device that just happens to make phone calls as well, i.e., Iphone.

I'm not sure what the answer is to be honest - but I long for the day when someone will look at a Blackberry phone and simply say "now that's hot! Very cool"

RIM can't out "wow" anyone so they had damned well better make sure they continue to make the best, most secure business phones known to man. That means, physical keyboard with BBM, PIN messaging, secure devices. Period.

Agree with you...

I'm glad that this notion of RIM having to ask itself what it wants to be going forward is making it's way thru the forums with a bit more regularity. All this talk about what RIM should or shouldn't do really boils down to that ONE question.

Is Blackberry going to remain a business device focusing on security and reliable communications which is available to the general consumer? Or will they shift their focus to become a "lifestyle" device that places the entertainment features as strong as their core features?

Only the CEO knows at this point. Analysts speculate...and if they were half as smart as they think they were, they wouldn't be Analysts...they'd actually be making decisions.

Let's wait until BB10 comes out and where they go with the Playbook and how Blackberry/RIM positions itself.... and then open up the criticism again. So anymore speculation about the Playbook and BB10 is moot until then.

It is very simple for me... The Bold 9930 keyboard with BB10 system and updates will keep me (and I believe many others) loyal to BB. It would be a big mistake to forget us.

Sprint BBBold9930 and happy with BB, phone and Sprint(Since 1999)

I would like to know if they still plan on controlling the updates once they get BB10 phones out like they do with the Playbook. Letting the carriers dictate when updates would be approved has been a disaster for RIM.

That's already been answered. By separating the radio stack RIM will deliver OS updates directly to users like they do with the PB.

The stock was downgraded today. He can say whatever he wants to whomever will listen but ACTIONS are what is needed. They have now talked the company to death. DO SOMETHING!!!!

You can't just snap your fingers and make it happen. They are working on new hardware and a new os, and building developer relations. That takes time. In the mean time they have to let the world know that they are doing those things.

We have gotten use to RIM pushing out numerous devices every year. You buy one, another one better comes out in 6months!! With all the rumors and leaks of photos of new devices, we get excited. I would be content with one new phone release a year as long as it kicks ass! BTW, its FEB, where's our Playbook 2.0 update and official 7.1 update? LoL

This is a really interesting blog post, basically they have to improve the consumer user experience on the phone or die. Licensing out qnx won't work as android gives a cut of the advertising revenue to the handset maker and the telco. So why would anyone want to pay a licensing fee ? I think Thorsten is on the right track the key is if the qnx phones are kick ass, if they aren't I think they go under or get bought out.

"Going under" won't ever happen (in the next 2-3yrs), they have to strong a balance sheet. I can see them continuing to lose market share, I'm not arguing that. But their business model makes money regardless if they sell 100 million devices or just 5million (annually). I could see a hostile take-over, but I'm pretty sure the Harper government would not allow it (as he hinted at this in a recent interview) - he wants RIM to succeed as a "Canadian" company (was what he said)

I commend Thor for not being afraid to tell it like it is. I would like to know what kind of partnerships RIM will make with other players in 2012. Strong alliances are needed.

Hahaha. That has to be so embarrassing... I feel sorry for him. He just gets a big new post, and let's that one out. "Rock and Roll this"? Poor guy.

I'm not upgrading until I see version 10 and the majority are going to sit on the fence until the "real" blackberry shows up.
Everyone knows version 7 is all but dead, so the upgrades are not going to happen on a massive scale until V10 is out, tested and proven the long wait.
We are still quite far off from the release date and the opportunity for Rim to (screw up) push back the release date even later is not out of the question and with their "proven" track record this will most likely to happen.
Even if V10 is all that we want it to be it is going to take months for the phones to be sold and sorted out. V2 OS of the PlayBook is still not out and it will also take many months before making a dent (hoping) in the iOS or Android. The Win8 is also expected to come out and compete full force...
This year most likely going to be a wash and the real development will most likely take place in 2013 if at all.

I never see comercials or any advertising in the U.S for BlackBerry. So did the U.S consumers give up on rim or did RIM give up on the U.S. When will U.S consumers start seeing signs that blackberry is alive and well? I've never even seen a Playbook comercial. Thank god for crackberry or I would be stuck with some other tablet that doesn't even come close to the playbook.A lot of people in the U.s don't even know about OS7 or even the playbook. The carriers sure as heck won't tell you about them and they might even lol if you ask about seeing a blackberry because they are in the back of the store in a box on the top shelf. What are you going to do to change this and when can we expect to see the "plan" in action? I love my blackberry devices but RIM needs to do something so that the rest of Americans find out what I already know... BLackBerry's ROCK!

edit:: Not even 2 minutes afte I typed this I saw a #bebold that was fast!!! I guess they are really listening lol,Go Thorsten light a fire under everyones a$$!!!!

Blackberries are not toys. That's the mantra, right? What happened to the arrogance crackberry addicts once had? Suddenly because every pimply-faced kid and fifty year old grandmother has an iphone RIM is supposed to chase those demographics? Hell no.

steve jobs biography has some great insights into their product development successes over the years which could be a huge benefit not only rim but to anyone interested. you cant make shit and expect people to buy it. im not saying that rim has made shitty products but attention to details and cohesion in product development is key. add secrecy to the mix and the pressure to develop becomes an internal one with little outside pressure bearing down. i like rims approach of developing the tablet first and expanding it to a phone but the public bearing witness to the process is having a huge negative effect on the development process which in turn could lead to some misteps and the ball goes rolling down hill again. i really dont see how it could have been avoided unless rim had been a year earlier on the whole process of developing a new platform or they had of stayed quiet until it was ready to go (surprise the market). so timing and talk seems to have been the culprit in damaging rims reputation. but still with all thats happened the issue of speed and execution is still the issue. ...(hold on here come my breakdown) tired of waiting ...and listening.... i need to see something now because the talk is driving me round the bend and making me talk about a topic i would have never been talking about unless i heard everyone else talking.... and decided that ..HEY I KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT

heres a question for him: will he keep a spot open for me in 4 years when im done my business mgr course :P. who wouldnt want a fan boy as a mgr :D

My question is: Will he leave me a spot open in 5 years so he can have a fanboy as a computer engineer from waterloo.


Here in the UK RIM does market itself but it's too niche, not mainstream. On the plus side, most BB users here, that I know, don't know what's been going on.

It's such a delicate relationship, but I really do agree with the quality vs timing. Obviously timing is important because people want it NOW. I just think that RIM has a one-time opportunity to really make a comeback here with BB10. They're sitting on a nice cash-cow right now, they're not in trouble...yet. Use that opportunity and take a bit more time to make bb10 LITERALLY an iphone5-killer. Look to the future. Don't just beat the iphone4s, but wipe the floor with whatever Apple is coming out with for their new model. That's the only way RIM is going to win here.

The app ecosystem is VERY key. What's the point of having an amazing piece of hardware that won't run anything people are interested in, be it tools or games? *cough, playbook, cough*

I still proudly own my stock in RIM and can't wait to see it skyrocket and return to its former glory and beyond. You can seriously be the top dog again, RIM. You've just really gotta want it.

I truly believe Thorsten Heins wants it. Let's rock and roll this!

Time and time again, they kept saying quality over timing, but in the end, it's always neither.

Being able to deliver today's technology today is equally important; delivering today's technology tomorrow is not just bad timing, but bad quality also.

I agree with that statement.RIM must be on point and in a timely fashion.What will we do if today's tech comes tomorrow?Will you wait on it?...Really guys!!!


You really need to do something about that cough. Maybe just maybe the Playbook isn't for you. RIM needs to stop apologizing for not being Apple. They are not supposed to be Apple. Damn all hypocrites!

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love my playbook. I can't wait for OS2 to finally get it up to speed. The playbook is just a prime example of what I was talking about. It was rushed onto the market without being ready. Very few apps, and lacking native features that should have been on it in the first place. The playbook hardware is still in the best-of-the-best right now. Just think if they would have waited to release the playbook until now, with the new OS as its first OS? I believe the reception would have been greater.

RIM doesn't need to try and be Apple. They need to BEAT Apple. In this game, it's all about winning. If they can't produce something that consumers want over Apple's products, then they will fail. It's just a fact.

Even most small businesses with a BES are looking at switching to Apple because not only do their employees want what's "cool" but it's a lot cheaper for them. Maintaining a BES is expensive and most companies don't see the security feature as that valuable when their company doesn't have crazy important data. I know of several large companies that already have. My company is actually in mid-transition right now, sadly. (obviously I had no part in this decision)

It's just a reality that they need to start focusing on the individual consumer, or pull out of the consumer game completely.

Careful! Folks 'round here don't appreciate what the real world thinks.

Freaking cheerleaders. Just keep those noses brown and watch our beloved RIM crash.

Word of mouth is the best advertising and rim doesn't have that support. Especially with the carriers who are pushing consumers in other directions.

Regarding RIM's marketing and consumer direction: HIRE SOME FEMALES FOR KEY POSITIONS.

There, I said it.

RIM has a history of being associated with the business/pinstripe/frat-boy mentality. It's absolutely critical that they shed this.

All you have to do is look at the nature of most of the people on BB fan sites, the kinds of apps and games available in App World, RIM's marketing and so on: Blackberries are mostly used or promoted by men. So we've got all these sports and corporate/business apps, we've got tons of articles on BB-centric sites (including this one) that seem targeted at the 21-45 y/o male demographic. They need to appeal to women, they need to appeal to artists and hipsters, they need to appeal to young people. Relying on BBM for that is a dangerous strategy. Pretty soon other competitors will have BBM workalikes just like Microsoft took away BES's thunder by releasing ActiveSync.

Right now RIM should be studying Apple inside and out and adopting some of their successful practices. I'm not saying that they need to become Apple, but almost everything RIM is lacking, Apple is the best in the world at. RIM could use some of that DNA.

RIM should be studying Apple for what? To figure out how to make a second rate iphone? How about they continue to make first rate Blackberries?

Although a more balanced management could be a good thing, it isn't a case of hiring women for key positions so much as hiring people who understand what appeals to women. Jobs and Ive seem to have managed to do this despite (?) being alpha males.
webOS phones "should have" appealed to women with their gentle curving shape and friendly interface; they didn't.

In the UK they already appeal to young people; low cost of ownership for a lot of communication capability. That is actually quite a good place to start.

Artists and hipsters are a very small subset of the general population.

well its good to know he is aware of RIM's weaknesses

however, i want to see how rim under new leadership execute new plans and strategies, obviously its still to early to tell

i will remain cautiously optimistic :D

i hope he is able to instil some excitement and new found bravado into his peers and the employees at RIM

not saying it was totally bad there, cuz it would be ignorant of me to say so. but im sure there was some uncertainty and nervousness amongst employees and higher ups.
hopefully there is collective positivity on working towards bigger and better things

Just bought the playbook. This is my first tablet and I chose it because it feels like the best balance of hardware/operating system combo, and because it is clearly the best buy for your buck. Two high quality cameras, two speakers, two microphones, 1080p display, wi-fi and a G-sensor! Not too big, not too small.

Everyone keeps app-crabbing, but why would I go with an oversimplified OS and inferior hardware that doesn't match to keep bogging down my device.

(I guess I have more comments than questions for the makers of blackberry.)

Stay positive! HTPC enthusiasts and people who recognize a good deal will keep buying. I'm hearing a lot of doomsaying from journalists and analysts who are very non-specific and seem like they stand to gain a lot from RIM's potential failure. I think the future is bright and I am definitely going to spread the word around.

Looking forward to playbook OS 2.0. Since its release is so near could we please stop with all the hate and just hold our breath 'til it proves its awesomeness. Also, looking forward to bb10 when I get a new phone.

Good luck!

A CEO's job is to look out for the companies long term interests.
An analyst is always looking for short term gains in stock.
Stick with the plan RIM. Think long term. Don't cave into the pressure of analysts short term thinking. Breaking up the company and selling it in pieces is stupid.
Your new concept London phone seems awesome. Keeping another os other than android and apple is good for consumers and competition.
I am hoping you pull through all this negative publicity and come out stronger than ever.
You are doing the right things, talking to developers, giving free playbooks to developers, london phone, os upgrade that works on tablets and phones. Long term strategic thinking that is what we need. Don't let the media dictate what your strategy is. Good luck.

Rim will make a come back & think the new CEO knows what need's to be done. The old ceos lost focus & didn't see the market changes coming. BlackBerry makes some great phones & if they didn't we wouldn't be here now. I must say my 9930 is doing a great job , it works & does what want to do. Now there are things that need to be inproved on we all know that & it will happen with the Os 10 phones. If you think we have trouble then go to verizons website & see all the the trouble people are having with the 4G phones & verizons 4G network. So Rim isn't the only one having trouble its just people want to kick some one while they are already down.

Why ask a question about what's changing? Isn't it obvious? Like, seriously. They're changing their entire platform. Wow, people really are genuinely ignorant to facts, it's unbelievable. BlackBerry 10 is QNX, OKAY? Okay... So, how is QNX not completely new and different? Because it is completely new and different than the current platform. Wake up. Stop the lies already. Hey, guess what, there is also a new CEO, which is also "change". Have a good night and weekend.

in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

I figured something out that is obvious. Right now RIM has a certain platform, I think it is bb 7, no? Okay, so at the end of this year, a new platform that is different is being launched called BlackBerry 10. I think that equates to something called change. You can experience this "future change" right now by using a PlayBook.

in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

It's actually good to hear RIM gained 3% in South America. I'm very, very interested if they gained share elsewhere - South Africa, Indonesia, the Great Britain, UAE, Spain, Thailand? As for the North America I assume with almost 100% they lost share here

I was on vacation in Dominican republic last week and was pleasantly surprised by the number of locals I saw who were carrying and using BlackBerrys. They appear to be very popular. Got a few envious looks when I used my Playbook in the lobby of the resort. Anxiously waiting for the OS update this month.

Everybody is a niche player. Yes, RIM can survive as a niche player, and nobody can or will dominate forever. If my Blackberry Bold 9900 was a car, it would be a nicely equipped Ford Fusion --- and Ford sells the hell out of that unsexy, practical car --- practical is good, but we don't hear much about how much faster one can type on a berry or how online banking and NFC makes security more important than ever.

" online banking and NFC makes security more important than ever."

Absolutely. The potential weakness of both iOS and Android is security. The number of reported major security failures is rising quite fast as more and more criminals target the various computer platforms.

QNX with its highly sandboxed processes, and RIM's general approach, leads me to think that when Mr. Heins goes to bed at night he prays something like "Please God, reveal a massive security hole in iOS, Android, or preferably both".

The general public is pretty clueless about security but they are starting to wake up to it. This gives RIM a potential differentiator...but BB 10 must be as secure as all the previous OS versions.

I agree. ...Security seems to be not so important to consumers at this point. But it has to have some value. I'm not sure that i need security either because i dont understand what it means or how im being threatend or targeted by it.

Can someone explain the security advantages of blackberries?

is it something that is going to hold up over advancing competitors? or will they soon have it. I keep hearing tid bits about android or apple improving security or adding encryption but i dont understand what sets rim apart.

This is off topic ...but does anyone have any ideas on the total numbers playbooks sold since the sales began in late november?

using rims last quarter inventory right down of 470 million (associated to the playbook) divided by 270 (average cost to produce) totals approx 1.7 million units of unsold inventory. but from what im seeing and hearing (and hoping) is that the number of units sold since then must be much bigger.

i bought the last 4 in stock the first day they went on sale in late november and every retailer around me was sold out in 3 days. its been 2 months since that and the clammering to get one hasnt stopped.

i'm thinking the sales for this quarter are going to surprise big to the upside maybe 2.5 to 3.5 million.

anyone have any insight?

the ultimate kicker would be outselling the kindle fire which has about 6 million sold.

nothing would make me happier see rim be the next most popular tablet

i hope that the new blackberry 10 devices consist of at least one device with dual cameras and a keyboard. that would be the drem blackberry for me. i had an iphone, one of the reasons i went back to blackberry was for the keyboard.

Something that needs to be remembered... some people make phone calls with their Blackberries! RIM must ensure the RF side of the device does not suffer as they make changes. A few friends were rather proud of their new iPhones and happy to point out the failings of my trusty BB device... now they're saying their next phone will be a phone first. They're tired of dropped calls and poor phone performance in general. They have a tablet for all the 'smartphone' stuff now...

Blackberry has an amazing product line, but to be more competitive, phones need to have more of a competitive price.