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RIM's new CEO wants to focus more on consumers

Thorsten Heins most important task will be to launch smartphones based on BlackBerry 10 as soon as possible, according to analysts

By Mikael RicknA$?s
January 23, 2012 11:09 AM ET

IDG News Service - RIM's new CEO, Thorsten Heins, wants the company to improve its product development while also becoming better at marketing, he said during a conference call on Monday.

Heins is taking over from Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, who had co-CEO roles and will remain with the company.

"I pledge to do everything possible to exceed the expectations of all of the company's shareholders," said Heins.

RIM's decision to pick its new CEO from within the company makes it clear that it won't budge from current strategy, which is based on its acquisition of the QNX operating system, according to Geoff Blaber, analyst at CCS Insight. QNX is already used on its PlayBook tablet, and will also be used on its smartphones with the arrival of BlackBerry 10, Blaber said.

"Eighteen months ago Mike and Jim took a bold step when we had to make a major decision around our future platform, and they purchased QNX to shepherd the transformation of the BlackBerry platform for the next decade," Heins said. "Right now, with PlayBook 2.0 coming out in February, we are more confidant than ever that this was the right path to go."

At first, Heins will focus on improving the company's marketing efforts, which include hiring a new chief marketing officer as soon as possible, and the way it develops products.

"We need to be more marketing driven, and we need to be more consumer-oriented because that is where a lot of our growth is coming from," said Heins.

RIM will also change how it develops products. The company has been innovating while developing the products, and that needs to stop, Heins said.

Innovation will take place with much more emphasis on prototyping, and RIM has great teams that can try new ideas out, he said.

"But when we say a product is defined ... execution has to be really, really precise, with no churn in existing development programs," said Heins.

Heins didn't address rumors about RIM being acquired, but emphasized that its current model is the way forward.

"I will not in any way split this up or separate it into different businesses," said Heins, adding that while he will listen to anyone who wants to license BlackBerry 10, it is not his main focus.

Picking a new CEO from within was the right decision, according to analysts.

"Heins has been the COO for some time. He has been at RIM for over four years now, and he has been leading the current product transition," said Blaber. "It will be about delivering on the strategy they have already embarked on."

Pete Cunningham, analyst at market research company Canalys agreed: "RIM has been stagnating and needed an injection of fresh leadership."

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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