Thorsten Heins takes over as President and CEO of Research In Motion

By Team CrackBerry on 23 Jan 2012 10:26 am EST

Thorsten Heins RIM President and CEO

Thorsten Heins has taken over as President and CEO of Research In Motion. With Jim Balsille and Mike Lazaridis stepping down, Heins has big shoes to fill and will no doubt need to prove himself right from the start. RIM has already posted quite a few video spots talking on the current state and future of the company, and Mr. Heins has even dropped a phone call to Kevin for a quick chat (which is pretty amazing). In case you missed all the news, follow the links below to learn more about this change-up:

Press Release: Research In Motion Names Thorsten Heins President and CEO
Thorsten Heins' first official phone call as CEO goes to... CrackBerry Kevin!
Video: Meet Thorsten Heins the new president and CEO of Research In Motion
Exclusive Video: RIM's New CEO Thorsten Heins talks his coolest BlackBerry moment!
Weighing in on Research In Motion's new CEO, Thorsten Heins
Thorsten Heins, new CEO, talks about the future of RIM and BlackBerry

Reader comments

Thorsten Heins takes over as President and CEO of Research In Motion


I keep hearing how blackberry needs to be BB, and not an Iphone or Android. Is that not the whole issue ? BB was ahead of its time at one point which is why it was successful. It is not today because others have "evolved" and BB has not. Yes, there are a couple of full screen handsets but it does not compete with what is out there. If BB stands still then they deserve the market-share they have. BB fans need to get that in today's world a smartphone is not just about email.

I want to see BB do well and hope they evolve and compete ...yes, w/Iphone & Android.

Handsets video
Tablets ..VPN & Wifi w/ authentication that works with enterprise (cisco), basic filemanager so we can find our saved docs, remote desktop, Skype video etc...

I don't mind a full slate BB. Heck I bought the Storm.. :/

But There are things that my Blackberry 9800 can do and make my iPhone friends jealous. Mainly the quickness of cycling through multiple apps, selecting and copying text with my trackpad+ALT on the physical keyboard.

I welcome the new QNX system, but I sure as heck hope they keep some of their old functions, the ones that kept them in the game this far.

There is nothing the 9800 does that makes me jealous. My wife has the Torch. I can maneuver and complete, cycle through apps quicker on my iPhone 4S. Heck it was even possible on my iPhone 4. Copying text it not difficult at all on the iPhone.

As for the change, they need to go to the outside. RIM's reputation has taken a beating. To say it fell behind in things is a slight understatement. They had a great chance with the Playbook and launch of the last devices. However, that didn't fair well.

RIM needs to really address the OS. QNX on the Playbook is amazing. I demoed the Playbook and pushed hard for it to sell. When asked I urged people to get it over the iPad2 or any Android tablet. During that time I had to go back to a Blackberry, which was PAINFUL.

Hopefully QNX on the Playbook is used everywhere and they update the Hardware to compete. Now there isnt a need for Quadcore Processor or 4.5-4.65" screens but the internals need to be there like RAM/ROM, Dual core, Camera and LTE.

No! This is another HUGE mistake. They needed to get an outsider with a fresh look. Saying that the CEO's "unwillingness to sacrifice" its long term vision for short term gains is like saying "I'm not going to eat for a week because I hope to have a steak dinner sometime next week." Sorry, you still have to eat to survive.

The two bumbling co-CEO's sufficiently screwed up this once powerful company to the point where it is a "do-or-die" situation. QNX smartphones were supposed to be out the 2nd half of 2011, then early 2012, now late 2012. The Playbook doesn't even have an email client for God's sake - one year from its release!! (Yeah, I was one of the idiots who believed the words coming from Balsillie's fat lying mouth and bought one).

Sad but true, RIM is dead.

you are 100% wrong, RIM can't afford to bring in an "outsider", they are in the middle of a platform transition they have to stay the course and get BB10 launched as soon as possible.

The sad truth is that your comment is full of ignorance and unfortunately many like yours is scattered throughout the crackberry forums.

The only correct thing you did write is your reference of being an idiot.

And you are in denial. Why do you love this company? Do you work for them? Are you a shareholder (no, because if you were you'd hate them)? How can you defend a company who's market share/worth has plummeted into an abyss? How can you defend a company who has lied time and time again to its customers and shareholders?

You are blind my friend. Open your eyes and see the world in its current form. Because if and when you do, you will see RIM for what it truly is and then you will understand why so many of us view this change as nothing more than the puppetiers controlling the (not so) new puppet.

I am a shareholder and I don't hate RIM. In fact, even with the current financial woes, I think it would be counterintuitive to hate a company I'm invested in.

Not really sure where in stryders post he mentioned all this love for RIM you mention...? I think stryder made a very valid point. In the middle of a platform change, it's not really the best time to bring in an "outsider" to try and fix all the things "wrong" with RIM.

I've also noticed you've made a number comments on this topic, all negative towards RIM. Not really sure why if you hate RIM so much, your spending so much time at a bb website. Maybe your trying to "help" people from making a mistake... I'm sure there are some troubled teens, drug addicts, and elderly in your area that would benefit from someone with so much time to give, and so willing to help.

I think this is going to be a great opportunity for RIM to repair their image and move forward. Glad got the first official call. What better place to start than here!

Going to be tough to repair their image when the new CEO starts out by saying that nothing really needs to change.

What is he supposed to say. Mike and Jim are idiots and we need to abandon QNX? They are almost done with a significnat transition. Are you suggesting that they go back to the old BBOS? If not, then what major change is needed that they aren't already addressing?

I never said anything about abandoning QNX, so no point in arguing that they should keep QNX around. All I'm saying is that the first impression he gives is that of "same old story." Time will tell, of course, but it seems to be business as usual for RIM despite the big change.

Most of you guys are dimwits on a crusade. Really, what is he supposed to say? Talk "change / future" and you complain that it's "hot air" and "too little too late". Keep the negative talk too a minimum for at least a few quarters so you can back up what you're complaining about (if there is something worth complaining about that is.)

Yes... we're on a crusade to bring down the manufacturer of the devices we rely on. Brilliant logic. As I've said elsewhere, it's not a smart move to lead with "nothing really needs to change" when RIM's biggest enemy is their own stagnation.

I can't wait for some of these dimwits, (rim haters) to get real jobs.. I'll have the last laugh when they are forced to use blackberry devices and software because of RIMs leading security and encryption. ;]

C'mon folks, give the guy a break! He just stepped into a new role. What is he supposed to do? How can one make radical changes the first day on the job? Of course, he will analyze and study all sorts of ways the company can improve its processes and its way of doing business. He does recognize the need for better marketing! He does recognize the value in QNX and BB10, and he does see value in the PlayBook and fewer BlackBerry devices.

Do we really need three different Bolds and Curves? That's a lot of devices to design, build, test, and support.

I think folks ought to give him a chance to assess the situation. Only a fool would say anything concrete at this point and have to wear it later! Plus, PlayBook 2.0 is around the corner and getting great reviews. QNX and BB10 appears to be on a solid track.

I am happy to still own a 9930 and plan to do so for at least this year. I also plan to watch the new CEO closely to see what happens. However, I have no interest in giving the guy a break. Yeah, he's a new CEO, but he's not a new RIM employee. Besides, considering the wave of bad press about RIM being stagnant in a fast-paced, ever-changing smartphone market, it's not the best idea to lead with "nothing really needs to change."

I think that's what the shareholders want the new CEO to do, be bold...
Current path is not working and the replacement just reconfirmed that's his plan, to stay the course.

I think RIM missed the boat here, they had an opportunity to shake things up and give some confidence to investors. Hiring an insider that was there for the downfall doesn't help. I do agree with his philosophy on tighter development process and hitting deadline, also with having RnD and prototype work in parallel to development.

Its not about repairing its image, its about executing a game plan. They simply cannot do it and, as far as I'm concerned, Heins was part of the problem. Its not like he is new to the company.

With a fully-fucntioning new OS and a kick-ass phone. That is how I would do it at least. If they don't have that soon (mid 2012), then they are in some serious trouble.

They have already stated that the new phones won't be until late 2012, which likely translates into early 2013 once the carriers are done field-testing them. Their excuse for the delay is they are waiting on a new LTE chipset, so unless that new chipset arrives early, the new CEO won't be able to make the phones show up any sooner than already planned.

Unless, of course, he pushes to include out-dated technology in the new phones. Hm... that sounds familiar, no?

You just don't get it, do you? And, no, I won't explain something so obvious that only a complete hairbrain can't understand.

You have some serious issues. I never mentioned Apple. I never referenced Apple. I never hinted at Apple. So what in the heck are you on about with your Apple comment?

If you are taking my comment "Hm... that sounds familiar, no?" as a jab at Apple then you really need to back off and calm down. I wasn't referring to Apple... I was referring to RIM's own history.

Your Apple trolling is way beyond rational.

Oh Thank G-D they raised up the co-Ceos hand chosen successor. The head of product development. RIM Produsts - where fortunately there have been absolutely no problems.

Can't understand why the stock is down 6% out of the gate.

I agree! This guy was part of the problem. I'd like to know what exactly he has done to deserve the promotion.

Hopefully, the NEW CEO takes RIM in a direction like apple did with the recent education updates. That's a huge untapped market which apple is going after hard. Imagine 30 kids in a class and like 1,000 students in a school all using playbooks. They're more likely to keep using blackberry technology if they grow up with it and they are more likely to tell there friends. Come on RIM get on it, I sent you guys an emails months ago but again and again all i see is apple going into school with more ipad training kids to like apple.

Actually yes. There are already school districts in Edmonton, Alberta, that have purchased ipads for their elementary school classes in Grade 6 and 7; the ipads belong to the school. The students "borrow" them for their school year and then they are returned at the end.

I think it's too late for that, I was in the mall over the holidays and noticed a class trip heading to the apple store. They were teaching kids on how to use their macs etc.

And why would any school district buy a RIM tablet over an iPad at this point in time? They'd be the laughing stock of the city.

I can speak for 109 people that WERE Blackberry users within the USA on the east coast since ’03 that purchased Verizon 9930 last Aug '11 and NOW are Verizon Apple phone 4s users within the last month. RIM has been left behind with platform and CUSTOMER SERVICE issues how can you for from 78 BILLION cap in May of ’08 company to a 8.3 BILLION cap Jan '12 company and say you are hiring a Chief Marketing person to head up US marketing when you are losing people already there were customer and you think they are going to come back! NOT!!! It’s CALLED NOT listen to your customers and BIG CO-CEO's with BIG HEADS! Best of luck when an Asian company buys your north of Border Company!!!

Funny yes but good luck with your "blackouts" and holding a product that doesn't have support within 16 months.

Hey, you knew that one! Anyway, the only blackout I experienced ended in 18 hours. Also, if I were ruled by other companies' standards, I'd only need 1 year of support before having to line up to get the latest-version-with-the-bigger-GBS-and-the-coolest-appz-lulz.

I guess you would rather be ruled by a company with a whole slew of dead-end products instead of one with high "standards".

No, being real is going about your business and moving on. If you had a bad experience, that really sucks for you but coming on here does little other than annoy the hell out of everyone else. It just goes to show us that you have time on your hands to complain about the past.

If you had a bad experience with the 99XX then you are part of the minority. This phone is an excellent device on many fronts. Maybe you and your "friends" should do a bit of research next time before purchasing a product of this type.

Nowhere does it say you need to reply to my post does it? If it’s annoying you then that your problem no need for you to read and or reply.

Really I'm in the minority? You must live in a bubble then. Oh we did research don't you worry about that. My "friends" all 109 of them have purchased over 500 devices since ’03 and have liked the device up until the last two years. With all the huge services area and the empty promise Blackberry has been throwing out there that is why the change was made for us. Guess you like having a product that we all “hope” works.

my kid just loves his 9790 but then again it does take some level of competence to operate a Blackberry device, maybe RIM needs to dumb down their phones for people like golfam123?

There you go again making it personal. Its doubtful your kids have ever tried an iPhone or Android phone because if they did and are able to make their own decisions (I'm sure you are the controlling type so that would not happen), I'm certain they would not choose BB.

You sound like someone from the Huffington Post. I guess nobody is entitled to express their opinion unless they agree with you. Nice.

Good luck to Mr. Heins, and I'd really like to see BlackBerry survive (or be acquired in a way that their products/functionality can live on), but these are truly dark days for RIM. Seriously, I'm one of the thousands of former CB posters that switched over iPhone 4s, and I came back here to see if there was a black armband on the "CB" logo or something. Jim and Mike HAD a good product, but kind of like a series of movie sequels that wears out its welcome, they kept trying to rehash the same concept for years while remaining completely oblivious to the tidal wave of changes brought by their competition. It's really too bad. You can't even fully appreciate the size of the gulf they're behind until you hop to the other side. People keep talking about "hardware" and "QNX", but the ecosystem that Apple's had for 5 years and Google is aggressively building are so far entrenched - there isn't even room a 3rd option. And if there is, the 3rd option may be Windows Mobile.

You are right. These Blackberry fans on this site are completely blind to the reality of the situation. RIM ignored its customers (I was one of them) and lost them FOREVER. Lies, lies and more lies. It was arrogance, pure unadultered arrogance. The outgoing CEO's should forever be shamed.

I now own an Android phone and would never go back to Blackberry. It's too late. They totally F'd up.

what lies?

you sound like a jilted lover, hey if BB10 turns out to "leap frog" the industry you're saying you would never go back? Interesting......

Dude, what's your problem?

You ask, "what lies"...are you frikin kidding me? The Playbook was one big lie.

Email client coming in 60 days...that was last April!

Android apps coming...last summer!!

QNX smartphones in the Fall...last Fall!!!

Look it up before you start making uninformed comments. Stick to your Blackberry (its like staying with a girl friend who constantly cheats on you, buy hey, that's your decision). That's fine but don't criticize others for their opinions.

Damn 109 people @ $350 to cancel the contract or @ $649 to buy the iphone outright....hmmmmm. So your saying that a company would pay such fees to get these 109 people a new phone which amounts to $38,158 to cancel or $70,741 to buy new phones out right, not happening. And if they did this on their own then your saying that they paid full price just to have an iphone, again not happening.

You may want to rethink how you make up your stories and troll else where because this my friend is hard to believe. And don't try to come back and say that vzw just allowed them to make the switch after the 14 day return period because by your own words as of Jan '12 (5mo) we all know this would not happen.

Plain and simple, that is bad math. Where did he say they paid "$649 to buy the iphone outright". Nothing like putting words in someone else's mouth.

Large corporate accounts have many phones coming on and off plan. You can apply a new phone plan to any of them as long as there are ones coming off plan, regardless of which one is actually coming off plan. In other words, there is quite a bit of flexibility on large plans. I know because I manage such a plan at my company.

Hmmm...Glad you can do math!!! By the way Verizon waived the $300 cancel fee because they take $10 off each month for Aug 17 2011 since we had them. Apple and Verizon gave me a discount as well of $225 for iPhone 4s 32GB and paid with my AMEX Black card. I’m sure you have one of those as well since you can do match so well. So get your facts straight.

Would you like the vice presidents name at Verizon Wireless (Basking Ridge NJ) number and or email that waived the fees? Of course I wouldn’t give it out without check with him before asking him. Glad you know so much about my company how I run a business.

Is it really necessary to drop not-so-subtle hints like "AMEX Black card" and "vice president at Verizon Wireless"? We get it... you have a big ding dong and want everyone to know it.

No it’s not BUT when you put out information that NOT correct then I'm going to correct you on something you falsely type. Thank you.

He did not do the math I did. I was just making a very logical point. Here's another one for you, you had to go all the way up to the VP to get new phones for your company? That in itself I'd just dumb. If you have a company that size that has that many devices why would it take the VP to get/give you a discount? And no one gives a F*** if you have a black card or a blue one. The point is that you no longer use a device and you still come to this site to make dumb and meaningless comments about a product you don't use any more. In my most humble opinion only little kids and those with a kid mentality do such things. Be the bigger man and walk away. Be happy with your IPhone.

If you have moved on from BB to another platform, hats off to you. Spare us the negativity and allow us true BB users to wish the best for RIM. The ones who are bashing will be back on the bandwagon when RIM turns things around. Let's hope that we will see RIM push quality products in a timely manner.

Negativity? Where is that? Its called being real and numbers don't lie. "Hope" is your key word just like Obama in the US and where is that got the USA?

I'll award you points on the numbers and such. Congrats! But it amazes me how you brought Obama into Well good luck to you and your IPHONE 4S. To each his own at the end of the day.

On another note I appreciate your opinion.

"It English if so first you can't do math and second you can't type or spell."

It's English if so first? You might want to be careful where you throw those stones while standing in your glass house.

Many people have been burned by RIM both as a shareholder and customer. They have every right to express their negativity toward RIM just as you feel you have the right to defend them.

Congrats. to Mr. Heins on his new position. I really hope Mr. Heins leads RIM out of its dark period and brings forth a new shine like it had during RIM's successful years as the leader.
Go TeamBlackBerry!


While I don't believe BGR is a reliable source of any news, I'm not sure how you can say they are a mouthpiece for Apple when they post articles such as "Android to overtake iOS and become the top mobile platform for developers."

Perhaps you're just upset because BGR isn't RIM's best friend?

Dude, I own one. Tell me exactly what you think is so great about the Playbook.

The email client? Oh, that's right, it STILL has none!

Contact Mgr...nope!

Meaningful apps....nota!

Even the browser is flaky.

I ended up buying an iPad. I was too embarrassed to pull out the Playbook. The PB could have been a great device but, pure and simple, its NOT.

the comment's on OS2.0, which hasn't come out yet.

BTW, I love having a browser that complies with Flash :)

I have that too (remember, I own BOTH the PB and iPad). Unfortunately, the browser on the PB is a bit buggy. And honestly, I haven't missed Flash at all using the iPad.

Its not to say the iPad is flawless. Its not. But the PB is sooooo way off the mark. No email client, no contact manager, etc. It had great potential but RIM made sure it will never reach that potential with all of its broken promises.

Incoming bosses always say nice things about the exiting boss. Did you expect him to walk in with a stick of dynomite in his mouth?

As a RIM shareholder who just increased his position on the morning slide... I hope they are the swan.... graceful above the surface but padding like h__ underneath where we can't see.

Kevin and Co.
Pls dont post any news on this guy/new ceo !!! there is too much of bashing going around even before he has started functioning.I think one post was more than enough to introduce him to all of us.
Good luck with everything.

New CEO, yes new position but not NEW has been with the company a little over four and half years. He came to the company when Blackberry had 6000 employees now have 17,800 (July ’11) employees. Plus the "old" CO-CEO's are on board and one will be vice president and other will be a director with no operation control.

RIM stock is not doing badly because it's CEO's have screwed up. Though admittedly product delivery could be a lot better.

They're under constant attack from short sellers who will generate bad news to encourage their short selling. A self fulfilling prophecy that has made a lot of hedge funds and short sellers rich.

RIM still makes around $2 billion a year and has no debt. Their products may not be the same as iPhone or Android, but they're every bit as useful.

The key appointment is not Thorsten Heins - who is as was suggested an insider (if relatively recent) - but the new board member.

It's reassuring to think that a value investor with a terrific track record in spotting trends (he made several billion out of the crash) thinks RIM is worth spending a lot of money.

With any luck he'll take the company private and get rid of the nonesense news that is generated by the short sellers. Leaving RIM free to focus on delivery rather than market sentiment.

Then how do you explain laying off 2,000 workers and a huge drop in market share and revenue? It hasn't occured to you that perhaps the short sellers were the smart ones or did they simply convince everybody not to buy RIM's outdated products?

I really don't understand why people want Blackberry to fail. If you don't like their products don't purchase them. Having choices in life isn't a bad thing.


one of the more intelligent post today unfortunately many others have overdosed on hateraid.

everyone the negativity by some over this annoucement just goes to show you there are people who just hate RIM no matter what, it started in the US and it's slowly permeating outide their borders RIM needs to control this contagion.
websites like TechCrunch, Egadget, BGR, etc... they are constantly bashing RIM whether justified or not, usually not, RIMPIRE needs to fight back and fight back hard.

So the other two guys only made "one dollar" one month? Still, they made a big deal out of it during the conference call.

Well with the new CEO and president of rim I wanna see how much they would improve by the time the new blackberry phones are out and the iphone 5 is released cause I told myself that the 9900 would be my last blackberry till iphone 5 comes out.. As much as I love having myself a blackberry it still seems like they are at a stand still for the past couple years while iphone and other phones improve so much and have way more to offer.. This is only my future reference.. Its 2012 and rim still have no facetime on their phones and other phones have release since last year.. I hope I can see an improvement from rim cause I really love using blackberry but still would love to have some new features on future phones

If you can keep the pace of dropping 600+ dollars every 10-12 months, why don't just get the 4S and play around with it, the 5 will not be much of a big deal, IMO. Apple has Facetime as BlackBerry has the Video Chat app in the PlayBook. This for sure will be included in the first BB10 phone.

two thoughts about the future of RIM
1) which part of market should RIM consider first?
Many guys say that RIM should compete with Apple, but the first priority and the most easy part of market share is from android. With the power to run Android APPs, RIM can catch up with Sumsung, HTC quickly. And compared to those vendors, RIM's products have better quality and unique services. All the vendors adopt Android tried hard to distinguish themselves. RIM had got it! So the FIRST step to increase RIM's market share is to make the market to believe that, RIM is the best of all products with Android APPs. Achieving the first goal, then RIM can focus on Apple. Anyone should face the fact, without some foundumental innovations, Apple will remain its position for a long time. And no products in the market right now have shown that innovation. Personally, I bet that innovation coming from some bold idea to interact and integrate with other consumer products(the idea using playbook to pick up
phone call or play music in car is absolutely far away innovative). But that's something RIM can't rely on in near future.

2) RIM needs to change their strategy in CHINA
RIM is stupid in ingoring the importance of China. China has the largest population willing and can afford a smart phone. Chinese market has its own characteristics, but RIM still uses its old marketing strategy in China. All chinese's carriers are run by state, those guys have limited experiences to push phones to end users! Expand your channels in China! Learn from Nokia! What's more, big corprate users are very small parts in China. Youth in china like typing, social networks and cool design. Senior people pay more attention to reliability and quality. These ordinary consumers make the majority market of china. RIM is excellent in meeting these demands, but unwilling to design suitable packages for them. Expensive monthly BIS fee makes blackberry in China unwelcome. Microsoft drop price for windows in China, why can't RIM? Plus people in china like to use short messages and QQ, which is much cheaper than BIS. If RIM stick to their inflexible strategy in China, BB will never be popular there. There is a tradeoff between the profit per user and the user amount, RIM's strategy is far away from optimal point. In my opinion, most of porfit in China should be relied on hardware and APP sell, not monthly fee from BIS or BES.(FYI, os 7 is still not available in China, but iphone 4s is.)
research in static

Whatever is necessary to strenghten RIM is worth a look, so long as we keep BBM available to only Blackberry devices..

If BBM is offered on any damn iOS or android device, Crackberry Nation should start up a friggin revolt and make the G20 riot in Toronto look like a tupperware party..

Disclaimer: the comment above in no way advocates violence in any form.

Wow! The vitriol in this thread is over the top. These are phones people. Everyone needs to chill.

Now that so called smart phones are ubiquitous (thanks in no small part to RIM) many people can carry a whooping amount of computing power and communicating power in the palm of their hand. If they are lucky enough to own a tablet they can pack even more of the above power into a pretty small place. The "personal computer" is now truly that; a personal device. The usage case for everyone is different. Is use mine as a phone, still camera, video camera, novel, comic book, map, encyclopedia, movie player, grocery list, music player, calendar, day planner, CRM, video store, voice recorder, video game platform, flashlight, word processor, spread sheet, and alarm clock. It is likely that tomorrow i will find something new to do with it.

I really have no brand loyalty; see my slashies below. I use what I like and i could care less about what others use. I think devices in 5, 10, 20 years from now will make current tech look like rotary phones. Use what you like and put your energy to better use!

/Device agnosticism or bust!

The haters are out tonight. God people get a life. Are u really that threatened by bb that u need to hate on them like this. Competition is good for all . no need to hate .

I think everyone with iphones and androids are brain washed with sublimanal messages. to hate on blackberry .I think there needs to be a investigation in to this .