BlackBerry's New Direction - The UpStream

BlackBerry's New Direction

posted Saturday Mar 31, 2012 by Scott Ertz

BlackBerry's New Direction

It is no secret that Research in Motion and BlackBerry are in trouble. They have had trouble selling their PlayBook tablets, even having to recall some and they are losing marketshare at an alarming rate, not helped by a massive outage last year. Add to that a long-overdue and constantly teased BlackBerry OS 10, also not without issue and the company's inability to get people to upgrade to OS 7-powered devices and you end up with a new CEO.

Only 10 weeks into his tenure and Thorsten Heins is making some major changes. He has started cleaning house on executives that have led to this disaster, including former Co-CEO Jim Balsillie. He also plans to clean house on some of RIM's consumer-facing projects. He believes that consumer-level products do not quite play into RIM's wheelhouse of expertise. On this week's earnings call he said,

It's now very clear to me that substantial change is what RIM needs... We see that Blackberry can not succeed if we try to be everybody's darling and all things to all people.

So, what does Heins believe are RIM's strengths and what are the changes he sees? Hit the break to find out.

Despite a slowdown in enterprise customers, Heins believes that it is still where RIM shines. He plans to push enterprise services, including a refocused BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, their device management platform for BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices.

He has also promised that with BlackBerry OS 10, RIM will finally enter the LTE realm. A lack of a 4G handset, whether it be LTE or WiMax, has been holding back their expansion in a market obsessed with data speeds. BlackBerry was once the data company, so it has been hard to believe in their products without a phone competing in the current data realm.

We will also see RIM slow down in their creep into the consumer market. In the past year or so, they have purchased a cloud-based video editing company named JayCut, a cloud calendar called Tungle and a social media company named NewBay. None of these products, save for maybe Tungle, really fit into the world RIM sees itself in going forward. These companies may be cut loose or sold off, but it is very clear that Heins does not believe they belong within BlackBerry itself. Instead, RIM will partner with companies that provide content services going forward.

So, is this enough to right the SS BlackBerry, or is it too little too late? Fight it out in the comments section.

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