That appears to be the thought process for RIM CEO Thorstein Heins, who told Bloomberg that RIM could license its upcoming operating system to rival phone manufacturers.
“The platform can be licensed,” Heins said, marking one of the most simple and candid statements of his tenure as CEO.
This is a tune we’ve been hearing a lot from Heins as of late. As the CEO admitted in an interview with The Telegraph ealier this month, RIM faces a nearly insurmountable disadvantage in the smartphone market.”We don’t have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year,” he said.
As a result, it’s becoming increasingly likely that the only way RIM can get out of this hole is to ask for help from some friends.
But the inevitable, million-dollar question is: Will anyone take RIM up on the offer? Previous rumors pointed to interest from Samsung, which has denied the speculation. (RIM’s investors were, however, ecstatic, and pumped up RIM’s stock by 13 percent on the rumors.)
But here’s the problem: Heins and RIM have it all backwards. No one — really no one –– cares about BlackBerry OS by itself. The appeal of RIM’s ecosystem has always been about how the software interfaces with the well-known and trusted hardware. By letting the likes of Samsung develop phones using its operating system, RIM is doing itself essentially zero favors.
While it may not be as lucrative, the RIM of the future should licence its hardware, not its software.