Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research in Motion (RIM), commented to CIO.com in July that he could have kept the original launch schedule of Blackberry 10 had he chosen to sacrifice the quality and platform stability of the company’s flagship product. He instead pushed back the launch date to the first quarter of to ensure that Blackberry users would get the best device that the Ontario, Canada-based electronics manufacturer, could deliver. Heins also said that delaying RIM’s signature smartphone also spared it from the humiliation of addressing quality issues when the handset has already spread in the market.
The delay gives the Blackberry’s rivals equipped with the latest OS a six-month headstart in the smartphone market and further endangers RIM’s 2.9% share in the global mobile market in 2011 that slipped from 3.1% in 2010 and its 10.4% share in the worldwide smartphone market, also down form 16.9% in 2010.
The first Blackberry appeared in 1999 and the first true Blackberry smartphone debuted in 2003, giving the Blackberry an iconic status because of its novelty and few rivals then. Heins admitted RIM’s failure to invest in 4G and LTE but defended the company against criticisms that RIM’s failure to innovate in software and hardware led to the Blackberry losing its market dominance. The company misunderstood this shifting trend, particularly in the US market.
Heins’ interview with CIO.com came days after RIM presented a disappointing first quarter fiscal earnings report. RIM’s Q1 revenue was $2.8 billion or 33% lower than its $4.2 billion income in the same quarter last fiscal year, and its net loss for Q1 was $518 million. RIM will also be cutting 5,000 jobs to save more than $1 billion in costs.
RIM’s dismal performance report contributed to speculations about a buyout by Microsoft, to which Heins commented that the talks are inaccurate because he still sees hope for the company. Heins said that hope lies in the company’s other products and in a revitalized Blackberry in its latest incarnation, the Blackberry 10 that will come in two variants: the touchscreen Blackberry L-series and the QWERTY N-series.