It was less than 24 hours since Thorsten Heins was handed the reins of beleaguered smartphone manufacturer RIM, he has just carried out his first public engagement as CEO in a conference call this morning.
Heins, was ushered in to replace co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis who stepped down, and during the conference call he was upbeat and positive in his outlook for the company which has been on a constant slide for the past 12 months.
He did however reveal that if the timing and partnership was right, then BlackBerry 10, the latest version of the company’s smartphone software, might be available to be licensed. Heins said it could happen "if it makes sense strategically and tactically."
BlackBerry 10 has been in the works for over a year now but we still have no concrete date as to when it will be launched, with a vague late 2012 date the best guess at the moment. Reports of delays and the problem of having to rename the new OS due to an oversight won’t have helped RIM’s outlook for this year.
While Heins was positive during the conference call, he did say that RIM did need to put in place a more rigid process and program management. He said the practice of innovating while developing a product, as opposed to defining the product and then executing its production and delivery “needs to stop.”
Another area which Heins will be tackling is changing the public perception of the company through marketing and he is now actively looking for a chief marketing officer. “I want to focus more on consumer/consumer marketing. That is a major change for us,” said Heins.
However, if RIM does not get the hardware and software right in the first place, even the combined might of Mad Men won’t be able to save the company. It’s certainly going to be an interesting year for all involved with RIM.
For more on why the next 12 months is a big year for RIM, check out our feature: 2012: The Crunch Year For RIM