BlackBerry’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, has been in Australia leading up to the launch today of the BlackBerry Z10. Australia is a huge market for BlackBerry so a win there is important. He sat down with Australian Financial Review to discuss BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerrys future. One of the big buzzword quotes from the interview was one of the CEO’s first quotes about the competition:
“Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market … They did a fantastic job with the user interface, they are a design icon. There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that,” Mr Heins said.
“History repeats itself again I guess … the rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don’t innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about is now five years old.”
Heins did a great job of staying on message and stating something that is simply a fact. The user interface on iOS is dated and designed for a time before today’s multitasking app boom. Heins also mentioned that he has no plans to jump into the tablet space too soon especially considering the slim margins that current tablet makers are taking. He is looking to offer something beyond just the plain tablet experience.
Also worth mentioning is that Heins did not agree that BlackBerry 10 is a “do or die” moment for BlackBerry. He said it was “vital to make waves with the phones” but BlackBerry is nowhere near “teetering on a precipice.” They have a solid balance sheet and no debt and the real product that they are betting on is BlackBerry 10 as a platform. Here is what he had to say:
“In the context of the financial viability of the company that is where I shake my head sometimes and wonder what everyone is talking about. The company has no debt, I will report pretty good cash position by the end of March in my earnings call, so I think we did a really diligent job in, not just keeping the company afloat, but also bringing it back to health,” Mr Heins said.
He said success with its latest phones was hugely important in the near term, but BlackBerry was focused on establishing BB10 as a broader mobile computing platform.