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What to Make of RIM Appointing Thorsten Heins as CEO


It is a pretty big change for Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to step down. During the conference call this morning RIM’s new chairman of the board Barbara pointed out that the appointment of Thorsten Heins was supposedly came from Mike and Jim. That is leading some to think that he is essentially a puppet for RIM’s previous CEOs but it is way too early to judge. On the other hand there are some things that he has made very clear.

  • He thinks RIM is on the right course for success and does not need drastic changes to the strategy Jim & Mike started when they decided to acquire QNX 18 months ago
  • He drives a BMW motorcycle which is part of his German heritage (I respect him just for that!)
  • Thorsten believes that RIM needs to double down on consumers with marketing targeted towards them which they started with the Be Bold campaign. Hopefully a new CMO will be selected soon.

The most important part of Thorsten’s announcements as CEO was the fact that he plans on streamlining the R&D, prototyping, and release schedules. That means RIM will no longer try to innovate during the release cycle which is what has caused them delays in the past. He plans on enforcing accountability and deadlines and confirmed that PlayBook OS 2.0 is coming in February. I agree that this is one of the biggest changes that needs to happen at RIM. They need to drive changes to market faster than ever before. They can no longer do their old 18 months from announcement to release cycle. They need to deliver consistant solid results and focus on their strengths.

Hopefully Thorsten is the right guy to deliver on RIM’s promise! He definitely will have a busy 2012.

5 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Ronen: I don’t think that’s what he said about innovation (I’ll have to listen again, perhaps I’m wrong). What I understood from what he said is that they won’t be trying to innovate on the same product that they’re trying to deliver to market. They will freeze the product design spec and focus on delivering that, while a separate team works on innovation. If they didn’t innovate while bringing a product to market, they’d never get anywhere. The only difference, it won’t be the same team doing both.

  2. They definitely have to work on delivering things much faster. They also need to limit what they announce to only what they can deliver quickly. Getting someone new in marketing will be key for them. They need to break the image they currently have in the US. Blackberry needs to be seen as a cutting edge phone with innovative features. No more playing catch up.

  3. I’d like to see people (the media) give this guy a chance before having to read him getting bashed everyone online. Sheesh.

  4. My take on what is going on:

    I think the decision to turn things over to him happened when we got the annouced delays in OS2 and BB10. He probably said (or it was agreed by all ) that RIM needed to come clean before truning it over to him. This make me think those time periods are achievable.

    Second, He said BB10 had to blow our socks off. To me this shows RIM’s confidence in the BB10 experience. IF RIM didn’t think BB10 would wow consumers he woulnd’t have said this. He would have said something like BB10 needs to deliver a rock solid performance.

    Small things matter and I think the “blow socks off” quote is really really important and most people missed this.

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