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Jim Balsillie Comments On Keeping Up With Apple and Google

Jim Balsillie Jim must have known this question was coming during the earnings call yesterday. He was asked by RBC Analyst Mike Abramsky how RIM plans on keeping pace with Google and Apple who are taking over the high end smartphone specifications.

I did not manage to dial in for the call but according to the Business Insider Balsillie “went on an epic rant for almost four minutes.” Balsillie did mention that RIM has some surprises coming at DevCon later this month and that BlackBerry Torch has created a increase in sales with 75 new carriers getting it in the next few months. He the proceeded with the following rant that I am still trying to decipher. Let me know if you have any luck!


I think in terms of what BlackBerry does, you know, it still has a tremendous number of attributes that really serve the market in the way that we align it for the service and for the carrier and for the segment that it’s supposed to address. And I think it’s dangerous to frame all this in a high-end arms race. And I think you’re going to see our capacity to go beyond what could have been expected by anyone and yet still address the issues of cost effectiveness, security, efficiency, and desired form factors.

Our specialty’s been in resolving a paradox, and if you don’t innovate to resolve that paradox… You know, robbing Peter to pay Paul isn’t really a solution because you’re just shifting strategies. The feature phones upgrading to a smartphone, I think our guidance just shows what’s happening. And if you saw the roadmap and you saw the engagement strategies you would see that we are being very prudent in our approaches.

But this is a really promising space, and we can address lots of segments. And we can still respect carrier alignment and efficiency, and different price points.

But, I think you’re going to see the ability to, I don’t know how to say it better, than other than "resolve the paradox." Because if you make these things so high-end that they’re not addressable to the market, or they’re so consumptive of the networks they can’t scale, that’s not what we originally designed our business for.

And what we’ve done is innovate to really avail the capability but still not sell out our lineage, and that’s the paradox that we’re resolving. But be careful that just because you don’t jump to Peter and abandon Paul, to sort of carry on with that sort of approach, that we don’t have an answer. We’re trying to innovate, forward our business, not be strategically erratic.

The core BlackBerry aspects are well defended and looked after and protected. But it’s in a space where people have mushrooming expectations of what these things can do. And that’s the essence of the paradox. And all I can say is it won’t take long before you see how we’ve done that.  And I think Torch and BlackBerry 6 is really an excellent step forward.

The promo campaigns are just really starting. But that’s why you’ve seen the jump in guidance… and the subs is that. I hope I answered your question. It’s hard for me to answer it too directly without sort-of violating confidential roadmap stuff.

I think what he is saying makes some sense like a 1Ghz processor is nice and dandy but only if it has decent battery life. On the other hand I don’t really why it is a zero sum game that you have to rob Peter to pay Paul… What do you think?

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  1. As a long time BlackBerry user, this is disappointing. What it tells me is RIM does not care to keep up with technology. A shame that will surely lead to MANY consumers defecting to platforms that do.

    I mean seriously, what lame excuse are we going to hear next from RIM? That we don’t need an LTE BlackBerry because BlackBerry is more efficient over data connections?

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