RIM CEO Interview Thoughts

Quick thoughts on the interview with RIM CEO Thorsten Heins in CIO Magazine:

  • He makes the interesting claim that RIM is losing market share in the smartphone arena mostly because the all-touch segment of the market is growing like crazy.  The keyboard segment of the market is growing much more slowly, but still growing.  So year-over-year RIM is ahead on handsets shipped/in-use, but because touch is growing like gangbusters the percentage numbers are dropping (down to something like 7%).  It's all relative.  But it is plausible.  If you have to have a keyboard -- and many people do -- RIM devices are king, between their high-quality devices and the BES network in behind it as a killer feature.
  • That said, the BB-10 device to be first launched will be touch, then a keyboard BB-10.  He is clearly hoping for non-trivial percentage penetration into the touch segment, especially the consumer and BYOD segments since that is where the growth -- and therefore the money -- is.
  • He says the carriers (presuming the US carriers mostly) see touch as a duopoply -- iOS/Apple and Android/Samsung.  Neither Motorola (ie Google) nor Microsoft are mentioned, even though Microsoft is also trying to ramp up their market penetration.  Personally I see the Motorola buy by Google as the most disruptive thing coming to Android over the next 18 months as Google starts to favor itself in Android distribution -- further weakening an (IMO) already bizarrely weak segment.  Short of a currently-invisible killer-app inherent in Windows-8/Metro, I don't see Microsoft playing extensively in the mobile phone segment (but tablets might be a different story depending on application portability).  The time is right for RIM to abandon its past devices and move to the BB-10 platform.
  • There's no discussion of tablets here, but they have to be thinking about them.