RIM CEO Reveals A Switch to Android Was Seriously Considered

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!

source: Telegraph

  • guillolb

    Clearly Heins hasn’t heard of WhatsApp.

  • http://twitter.com/mimrixmike Frettfreak

    Don’t think there is hope for their survival. They have lost. They could be bought though. For their hardware anyway.

  • DThor

    I actually do agree with him that BBM is the one thing that differentiates them from the pack, but it won’t be enough to save them. Everything else is years behind the pack they eschewed joining.

    I don’t think these candid comments that slip out every month or so helps them in any way, and likely only hurt them. He really needs to keep his head down and get to work, not explain to the public why they’re failing.

  • RTWright

    With their staggering loss of market share over the past few years due to Samsung, Apple and Android combined ( Microsoft is in worse shape than RIM and they’re signing licensing agreements ), there is no way they can survive. They need to reinvent themselves completely while sticking to what made them famous.

    Just like stated above, what would it hurt to put the Android OS in the background and overlay the BB Interface? Lets face it, RIM put out some fantastic devices in their past, their hardware was always good ( Except for a few I could mention ). BBM isn’t that unique to be honest, when there are apps on the market for both iOS and Android alike that can do just as much, maybe not exactly to the T, but it gets the job done. So no, BBM will not save them.

    I’m going to guess at some point we’ll hear about RIM being bought out by someone. I would think for their patents and hardware alone they’d get picked up pretty quick like. They were at one time an innovator in this market.

  • http://www.facebook.com/min.zhu.90475 Min Zhu

    RIM has strange culture and self distruct political environment.

    In RIM if a new hired person figure out major problem and introduce efficient approach, both manager and his buddy group member will proof their wrong approach works. just like someone point out driving a car is right way, pushing a car is wrong way, then both manager and his buddy group member will hate you, and proof that 3 person can also move the car by pushing it. cheating email will be sent to some vice president, saying like: see, the car moving, pushing a car is a natural part of the process, in order to deny new hired contribution of introducing skill of drive a car, they have to deny merit of driving a car.

    It is very strange company culture and strange company political environment, it promote stealing and cheating skill. RIM’s management may be a typical instance in MBA course.

    This culture deny or steal hardworking team members’ contribution/innovation, generate strange political environment, destroy RIM.

    and with this culture, the more layoff, the more pretender left.

    after lay off 10K employee, RIM will figure out all the pretenders, let them stay in old RIM, and new RIM survive.