Thorsten Heins, the CEO of RIM, made some controversial and stunning headlines during an interview conducted on Thursday. According to Telegraph, Heins openly admitted that RIM will not be able to keep up with Apple and Samsung with out outside help. While it’s always surprising to hear CEO’s admit something like that, you almost can’t blame him considering the market shares that both Apple and Samsung currently dominate. It’s no secret that RIM has been substantially slipping these past couple of years, and I can’t see the company rising back up with out some sort of help regardless of how the success of Blackberry 10 plays out.
If that wasn’t shocking enough for you, Heins also admitted that the company was seriously considering switching to the Android platform. While they took it into consideration, they ultimately decided against it. According to Heins:
“We took the conscious decision not to go Android. If you look at other suppliers’ ability to differentiate, there’s very little wiggle room. We looked at it seriously — but if you understand what the promise of BlackBerry is to its user base it’s all about getting stuff done. Games, media, we have to be good at it but we have to support those guys who are ahead of the game. Very little time to consume and enjoy content — if you stay true to that purpose you have to build on that basis. And if we want to serve that segment we can’t do it on a me-too approach.”
Heins also referred to Blackberry Messenger as the companies trump card and factored it in their decision to stick with Blackberry and not switch over to Android:
“[BBM is] what attracts people to BlackBerry,” he said. “This is our BlackBerry experience we can deliver — there’s no other system out there where you can read, write, check if you’ve read my message. We want to make it as differentiated as possible. Going cross platform and opening up would be losing that advantage. I think there’s a huge difference between somebody who just provides the phone and the hardware and someone who provides services.”
Don’t get me wrong, BBM is great, but in no way is it a savior for RIM as a whole. Android and iOS have a great ecosystem and both offer such a wide variety of features that RIM and the Blackberry platform just cannot contest with. In my opinion, while it’s always hard to swallow your pride and admit defeat, hopping over to the Android platform would give RIM a better chance of surviving. Considering Android’s versatility, a Blackberry style overlay on Android (much like Sense and TouchWiz) could be an idea that the company should consider in the future. You’ll have Android’s wonderful and rich ecosystem of apps and everything that Google Play has to offer and yet still retain the essence of the Blackberry platform with features such as BBM and others.
Let’s not forget that RIM did have beta builds of BBM for Android before the project was ultimately canned, thus it wouldn’t be a far-fetched idea if RIM ever did switch over to Google’s Android platform. Let us know what you guys think of Heins’ comments and if a switch to Android is RIM’s only hope of survival. Or maybe you have a different solution? Sound off in the comments!