RIM CEO Heins vows to 'stop the bleeding,' slams Android OEMs

Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) new CEO Thorsten Heins acknowledged that the company has to turn around its performance in the U.S. market, but also said that he is confident in RIM's assets and abilities. He also said Android handset makers are "all the same."

Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) new CEO Thorsten Heins


In a series of interviews, Heins sought to clarify his stance on where he wants to take the company following the resignation of Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, the long-time co-CEOs of the BlackBerry maker. Both Balsillie and Lazaridis are still RIM board members.

In an interview with CNBC, Heins said that he knows the company has to fight back to reclaim its  position in the U.S. market, where it has been steadily losing market share for the past three years to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. "It hurts. It hurts me to see us losing market share in the U.S. There was a paradigm shift, and we did not shift with it..." Heins said. "I know we've made mistakes, and I know I'm in for a fight."

However, Heins said the company plans to fight back, including the introduction of new software for its PlayBook tablet, due next month. "We want to stop the bleeding," he said. Heins also pointed to RIM's strong international growth, noting the company has expanded the number of BlackBerry users from 50 million to 75 million in one year.

Heins also reiterated that one of his first tasks will be to appoint a new CMO--"top-notch talent," he said--and to put all external brand communication under that person. "We need to talk more about us," he said. "We need to talk more about how great our products are."

The new RIM chief also talked about how he will work with the company's former leaders. "I will make the strategic and the tactical decisions around RIM's and BlackBerry's future," he said. "But I will also seek Mike and Jim's advice on strategic questions, because they have been in this industry for a long, long time. They have been very successful. And I would be foolish not to use the experience and the capacity that they have."

In a separate interview with the website CrackBerry, Heins said that many misunderstood his comments earlier this week when he said he didn't think a "drastic change" was needed at RIM, which some commenters took as a signal that he would merely continue with the policies of Balsillie and Lazaridis.

"I think this got into a little bit of the black and white zone. I was talking about drastic or seismic changes," he said. "What I was trying to address was that there was some suggestion that RIM should be split up or should even be sold. My true belief is that RIM has the strength and the assets that we can really succeed in this market. There is a lot of change [at the company]. There is a lot of structure change, there has been already a lot of change in terms of our software, our software platform, bringing QNX in. There is no standstill at any moment here at RIM."

Heins also hit at Android handset makers as undifferentiated OEMs. "Just take a look where the Android OEMs are. I leave this to you," he said. "Take a look at their recent announcements and what you will immediately see is there is just no room for differentiation because they are all the same."

For more:
- see this CNBC article
- see this Crackberry post
- see this AllThingsD article

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