Thorsten Heins, RIM President and CEO presenting significant plans to RIM board in the next two weeks

Thorsten Heins
By Bla1ze on 28 Jan 2012 01:45 am EST

During the first few days of Thorsten Heins taking on the position of RIM's President and Chief Executive Officer, there were a few quotes pulled from his interviews. One in particular struck a chord with many in the market and while Thorsten later went on to clarify what he meant, that wasn't the closing of the questioning. In speaking to Reuters, Heins elaborated further on the matter and took the time to note an upcoming meeting he has planned with RIM's board:

"I will have time with the board in two weeks to present my ideas and changes," Heins said.

Heins hasn't been blind to the situation at RIM, knowing full well that their U.S. market share has rapidly been slipping, and while they're still making plenty of headway in emerging markets, it's not enough. In the past, RIM has relied heavy on their relationships with carriers to create promotions and that once again looks to be the game plan. Right now, only 20 percent of U.S. BlackBerry users are making use of newer devices while the rest remain on the previous generations hardware - some even two-generations behind. 

When BlackBerry 7 was released, RIM began working with carriers in the U.S. in an effort to get newer devices into people's hands. The problem is -- no one seems to have noticed. Some insight offered by Heins shows the ramp up for that hasn't even really begun, and while he wouldn't divulge the full details, it was noted:

"All the plans are ready. The carrier agreements are all ready. Now we have to get off the starting grid. Now we need to execute that upgrade program," Heins said.

The information about carriers is rather interesting and really plays a bigger role here. It's been suggested in the past that some carriers may have been holding back on RIM products due to their lack of LTE implementation - something that RIM is also addressing starting with the BlackBerry PlayBook. Come Spring, RIM has plans to launch an LTE equipped BlackBerry PlayBook that will serve as their first foray into LTE, with BlackBerry 10 devices also getting LTE treatment later on. In the meantime, we'll have to see what comes about -- one thing seems certain though, we'll be seeing more BlackBerry promotions through carriers soon.

Source: Reuters

Reader comments

Thorsten Heins, RIM President and CEO presenting significant plans to RIM board in the next two weeks


The thought of any direction of BlackBerry giving up makes me ill. I worked with T-Mobile and now with Verizon and I get so much crap from coworkers because I still use a BlackBerry. But they can all kiss my a#@. BlackBerry till the end :)

The problem why carriers don't like Blackberry phones and don't market Blackberry is BBM. Phone companies make money on txt plans. When BBM is free and the phone carriers don't make money off of it they turn their heads on Blackberry. This is why most carriers do not like Blackberry products anymore :(

Don't agree...

Carriers still make money as BBM uses data. And also it makes someone who would just have a text and talk plan, have to get data to use BBM.

I would think thats a win for the carriers...

I am fortunate in that I have a carrier that sells quite a few models of BB. Yet the 9930 (My phone of choice) isnt sold by my service provider. In order to get the newer devices to more people, get the phones, especially a higher end model, to the retail stores. I will be waiting to see ( as are a lot of others I would assume) what comes from the BB10 models and the QNX. Keep up the progress and those who abandoned ship over a couple of waves will probably regret it.

1) RIM has to stop releasing a new "low end" line of devices. That hole should be filled by existing devices as they become older. Making a "new" underpowered device harms the brand.
2) The above also eliminates spreading scarce resources in developing/supporting too many devices.
3) The future strategy should be to make new OSes backward compatible with at least two generations. That is how you cater for the low end market.
4) With BB10 (it is not the best OS name btw) the device naming strategy should avoid the four figure style. It is vague and hard to market or even follow.
5) Please assure us you are concentrating on releasing one BB10 device first so that it can be the best it can be.
That said, there really is not a lot to do esp if the PB reaaly hints at what is to come.

Carriers push iPhone and Android because it encourages higher data usage therefore more revenue for the carrier. RIM needs to offer plans that pair their OS 7 devices with the new 3g/4g playbooks that are coming out this year. Give the customer a PB and a 9900 together for a discount when you sign up for an unlimited plan. The plan is shared between the phone and the device.

Now the carriers are on your side, pushing BB products for the first time in years and the customers are happy because they get the best tablet + handset experience on the market. 1 + 1 = 3 if I remember correctly from CES.

It's not rocket science, I'm sure this has been in the cards for a long time, it's just that RIM hasn't got a network-ready tablet to the market yet. Hopefully Mr. Heins can make these ideas into reality faster than his predecessors.

Even if carriers do have BlackBerry devices in store the sales reps have a huge bias against BlackBerry which to me is bad salesmanship and a part of why RIM's sales have gone down. I understand that BBs might not be up to par with other devices but you have to present all the choices available. I think RIM should do something about encouraging sales reps to actually present the devices to customers. This is my opinion and experience going to various carriers' stores.

You don't think?

Brands frequently pay a "premium" (polite term) to retailers for displays, and possibly even employee incentives.

Yes you can.

I've even heard of situations where the local rep take the stores folks out for lunches and even providing gifts. This has been going on forever and its likely RIM has participated in this practice. You'd be surprised what you can get people to do for a $10 hamburger.

At the carrier level, the incentives are even more remarkable. OEM's look at the revenue per device, including the eco-systems and the carriers look at volumes and revenue potential for selling their own services. Apple has been smart, as they built a data-hogging phone that needs lots of bandwidth and related services. This translates into more revenue per devices and with the kind of volumes iPhone generates, a perfect storm for carriers. Also, since Apple makes money on the eco-system, they can be more aggressive with handset pricing because they know they'll get it back in after-sale revenues.

RIM built it's devices around the concept of a third-party business solution, with the handsets being only one part of the picture. Given that it had to run within an existing IT infrastructure, it needed to be efficient and purpose-built. By making it efficient, it also took some of the services away from the carriers, which I'm sure RIM is now backfilling. When this solution is scaled up with carriers, we see a more efficient set-up but lacking consumer needs like big video streams, non-business applications and fully open handset customization.

I think RIM has come a long way to take the "starchiness" out of the product, but market perceptions are hard to shake.

Well, I can safely say that when I was at AT&T Dec 15th trying to fix my Torch, I didn't get the shoddy expression from the Rep. In fact she simply expressed to me, "We have new devices out, the Torch 9810, the Bold 9900." Not once did I hear her mention the Iphone. I did see she had an Android as her preference device, but not once did she swing at me to check out Iphone or Droid. To me, there Are some AT&T reps who still like BlackBerry.

What's cool about this is once BB10 Devices come out , hopefully September, my Contract will have been up and I could give back my Mom's and use mine to upgrade for BB10 then can give her my 9900. I think she was indeed fascinated with Push Email for BlackBerry. I could tell by the way her eyes lit up. Hopefully once her dinosaur Samsung AGH or whatever phone dies, I can convince her to go Berry.

Thorsten is absolutely Great, just his communication with us at Crackberry and with everyone else has been telling.

My one question is why is a 4G Playbook coming out before the BB10 device with the new dual core chips that are more efficient and allow the battery to last longer? What 4G chip will the Playbook have? I know i could be wrong but i am assuming the Playbook chip will not be the same.

4G is NOT really LTE because of North American marketing.

HSPA (which can be considered H+) is now marketed as 4G. LTE will be faster than that.

Most likely the same chips in the Bold 9900/9930 will be used.

Well i should have made it more clear but in the article near the end it says an LTE Playbook will be coming in spring before the LTE BB10 devices, that is where my confusion lies. What you explained makes much more sense and more than likely what was meant in the article.

I've been in a Verizon store that had every android you could think of on display and of course the iphone and all tyhe way over in the corner by itself was a 9900. Nothing else from blackberry in the store. Again I was at a sprint booth in the mall and was talking to the rep about how nice looking the new bold was and when I mentioned the touch screen she looked at me strange and said "I just did a training class on this phone and I'm pretty sure its not a touchscreen" I had her take one out of the box and turn it on just to prove it to her. Before I bought my playbook I wanted to try out the demo model at best buy but it did not work. So I told the manager and came back two weeks still didn't work. I was at staples looking for a charging pod for my playbook and the sales guy looked at me strange and asked "do you actually like the playbook?" So yea RIM needs to do something because here in the U.S it seems as if BlackBerry is dead...a thing of the past. I can't wait until  10 kicks butt and takes names when I go into a carriers shop,I would like to see a section dedicated to the  experience.Low grade model sales in Indonesia will not sustain the company. BlackBerry needs to make the U.S fall in love again. I love my  its a workhorse but no one will listen to me when I try to tell them because they are to busy playing the next cool free ad filled app on their Android.

Even up here in Canada i got alot of flack getting my Playbook, sales rep at Futureshop couldn't understand why on earth i wanted a Blackberry product. The sadest thing is the growing amount of misinformed people, RIM needs to do more to spread the word that Blackberry is very much alive! I hate when i get told they are bankrupt and going out of business or that they have switched to Android or any of the other crap people misinterpret through media or things the media gets wrong, happens alot.

Where I live, all the sales reps push blackberries. I went to bell looking for a torch and the guy whipped out his torch from his pocket and let me play with it. The other two guys had blackberries too. Pretty much all the sales reps from all the carriers and stores own blackberries but there are a few androids and iphones among them. Same story with my bold 9900. The guy was all for it and kept telling me how awesome it is. Never said anything about android or iphone. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I live in Waterloo.

Well im all the way over in British Columbia and although i see a ton of Blackberries in the hands of many people it is all to apparent how people are switching. Android seems to be the phone of choice although i hear friends with Android wanting their Blackberries back. Could have just been that i happened to run into the wrong sales people

I was in a Verizon store and when I asked about BB, the rep leaned forward and in a hushed tone said, "We haven't sold a blackberry in 2 years!" AT&T was more supportive, but in the store I bought from, they only had the 9860 in stock, which bricked after 2 weeks. When I went back, they had the 9900, but still not the 9810. If they did, I think I would have bought it.

So I've settled on the 9900 on AT&T, my first smart phone. Really like it, except for the crappy camera and the too-small screen. My wife has the Samsung Skyrocket, so if I really need to play a game or watch a movie or flash video, I'll borrow hers!

It's at the retail level; and u can't really blame the rep totally. But how is it when I go into a best buy, staples, AT&T store (not Verizon store tho), and I have 2 blackberrys and a Playbook while wearing a blackberry hat, they still show me droids and iPhones and make comments about bb going out of business. The First Thing they tell me is what bb can't do. So, the bb space has to be won over one rep one store at a time.

about 3 months ago I went into an ATT store for an upgrade. I already knew what I was going to get but I asked the sales guy "whats new?" and "whats good". He immediately said the new Blackberry 7 phones are really reliable and do everything well. I was surprised by his answer because he had an Android phone in front of him. When I asked him about android he said anyone new to smartphones will like the android because they don't know how good a smartphone can be, but he and many others he deals with that have or had a BB will be frustrated with Android. When I asked him about the iPhone he smiled and said if you want a game player get a iPod touch and use a BB for everything else.
I got the 9810 just as planned.
I have been a ATT customer for a very long time and have been happy for the most part, BUT PB bridge issues?!?! C'mon Man! Thanks rroyy!

I went into a Verizon store yesterday and received a very neutral sales pitch. The sales people were very accommodating. I need to replace my Storm 2 which is showing signs of wearing out.

Since I was the only customer, I had 4 sales people in the discussion about phones. One of them did bring up a very interesting point. With a single processor, will the apps being developed in the future run slow as this phone will need to last two years before being able to upgrade. This was the reason she had switched from BB to the Nexus. She actually likes BB better.

Another one stated that most of their customers want the biggest screen possible as they are watching videos, tv, and playing games and the biggest BB screen is only 3.7 inches compared to 4.5 - 5.3. (When the Samsung Journal comes to Verizon). He stated that he personally was waiting for the Journal and figures he could sell over 50 the first day they are released. (this is a small store)

I want more screen on my phone. (reviewing documents and dwgs.) I would rather have a tablet / phone that is barely pocketable which is why I may jump ship.

However if RIM was to come out with a policy that they would give lucrative rebates on OS7 phones when the BB10 phones come out, and come out with a large screen for those of us that want a 5+" screen, I would stay with BB which is my preference.

My next move commits me for two years. I know several others in the same position. Unfortunately, hope and change has only made my economy worst.

I do hope for a better result with the new boss man for RIM.

So I guess I missed the 4G Playbook on their roadmap? All I saw was the 3G+ model (HSPA+) which isn't LTE. Maybe it just wasn't on there? Anyone know?

Bell and Rogers, Telus's LTE are actually H+/HSPDA/HSPA (3G/3G+). It's just been renamed. Most are doing the same in the US. I am not blinded by carrier's renaming techniques. ;)

There needs to be a retail presence for BlackBerry, especially in the UK - the only way people here find out about it is either on the TV (via adverts on Sky TV, if you happen to watch the Sky Atlantic channel) or on the internet

And despite the very best marketing efforts, potential customer ends up at third party retailers OR directly toward the carriers, who will more likely than not try and deviate a normal customer away from BlackBerry.

Prime example, i went to Phones4U (3rd party retailer in the UK - equivalent to Best Buy Wireless over here) and when i spoke to the sales guy he said this: -

"i'll be honest, we don't get much retail discounting and/or incentive's for selling BlackBerry devices, basically the price we set is the price you pay... Whereas the other devices, we do get loads of marketing and/or discounting available (for example, Android get's discounting on line rental and/or cash-back deals and Windows Phone 7 will get HEAVY marketing) and therefore will more likely promote those devices than the BlackBerry devices"

This i could totally believe (not to make a dig at RIM but more about promoting the brand key values etc) and this, i believe, could be rectified by having dedicated RIM/BlackBerry stores and/or sections within stores to promote the absolute positives of the platform...

Hate to bring this up but Apple are an anomaly in that they have just become a wireless juggernaut and having an Apple Retail Store to visit for whatever reasons (Genius Bar, Intro courses, AppleCare appointments etc) and that, in my opinion, shows Apple offering the before, during and after processes of the sale. In my opinion, BlackBerry/RIM needs a similar kind of strategy as they too are an anomaly

Let's be honest, there is no competitor to BlackBerry because, like Apple, BlackBerry is an anomaly - is there a real comparable competitor? BlackBerry requires the BIS/BES in order to operate and the services coupled with these are unique to BlackBerry and RIM...

I'd love to drop by a dedicated BlackBerry store and get help and support with either upgrading or help with its features etc rather than either the retailer and/or carrier person that would rather show you the exit than entertain your BlackBerry query - customer education is the number one element that BlackBerry, i feel, is somewhere they can improve on and providing the same level of before, during and after-sale customer care/service

Just got a BlackBerry Torch 9810 and it's everything i ever wanted! BlackBerry til I die!!

So why do so many BB users cling to old v.4x, 5 and 6 models? There ought to be HUGE incentives to upgrade. If you are going to compare apples to berrys, at least let's compare the BEST berries. My 9900 is not the best at everything, but it is best at the things I care about most.

All my friends who have a BB didn't upgrade either because they never knew about the OS7 devices or they heard so much bad press about it that they just stuck to their amazingly resilient older BB's . . . (Or will soon be switching to another device . . .) I think I've sent out the blackberry website link to the new OS7 devices so many times on BBM that I should get paid for advertising for RIM . . .RIM mistake # 142 . . .poor marketing in US . . .

Since the Playbook OS is the test bed and development mode for the new BB10 phones, they have to get a 4G/LTE Playbook on the market to work out all bugs before the release of the three new BB10 phones at he end of the year. If Playbook is finally ready for use with an OS2 without bugs, then it can be a solid platform for high-end phones, integrated business and consumer devices, and functional technology that with solid marketing will make RIM noticed again. RIM needs better marketing, but until they have this platform ready, market share is not going up. A new company and new vision is being crated, and that takes time. Hopefully, with the new CEO in 2013 that there will be solid 7 and 10 inch tablets, three phones, backward compatibility, more marketing campaigns, and probably retail store presence, which would bring RIM stock back in line. And RIM may be the fruit of choice for more people.

Let me also share my experience. I went to ATT store last week as I wanted to transfer my contacts from my HTC Inspire to Bold 9900. The rep said that Bold 9900 is hot and he had two guys the same day who did an early upgrade from an Android device. They had to pay $449 each ($250 early upgrade + $199 contract price). He said business folks by default go for BB and Blackberry7 devices are selling well. He said that many BB owners do not even know that faster and better-looking devices are out. fwiw.

I upgraded to the Torch from the Storm 2 and was very disappointed when the news of the BB10 when those of us are on upgrade plans won't be able to take advantage of the newer phone in less time.

Well, you'll have to enjoy it and make use of every single thing it has to offer until the time flys by. Heck, I love my 9900 that I'll be using and sticking with it until the BB10 devices arrive at WINDmobile. Two years or less, I'll still love it until it stops working (after all methods to revive/recover it have failed). Then I'll be getting the new BB10 one.

So enjoy and appreciate what you have. ;)
PS. I have three old, "obsoleted" discontinued computers I use daily, my mother has a discontinued, "obsoleted" curb-side tower I picked up for free, all of them work wonderfully. It's appreciation that matters over newness. Heck, if it isn't broken and works fine, it doesn't need to be replaced. Just my two cents.

This new CEO has motivated me so much I'm switching my iphone4s for the new bold 9900. OMW to best buy!!!

I was phone shopping back in October 2011, and everytime I asked about a Blackberry, the sales person would always ask "why?". Another phrase that seems to be common with the cell phone sales force is "Well, if you get a Blackberry... well, just know that, it's a Blackberry", or "It doesn't do much, it's a Blackberry".

I'll take it over hastily stamped out Android phone any day. I've broken S2 LTE & Galaxy nexus because I dropped it backside-down, from knee's height, on hardwood. It's like a little more than 1-foot drop, and the display panel somehow cracked because of the shock of the drop. ><
Never happened to my BB / idevice. My iPhone would get dented but at least the display panel wouldn't crack after such a light fall. My BB would shrug if off like nothing happened. RAWR!