While many industry watchers have suggested that Research in Motion give up its BlackBerry OS and adopt Android instead, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins (above) divulged exactly why the company avoided that route in a recent interview with the Telegraph.
And while RIM’s future seems especially bleak, after delaying its BlackBerry 10 release until 2013, Heins is still holding out hope that BlackBerry Messenger will be an enticing feature for its future devices.
“We took the conscious decision not to go Android,” Heins said. “If you look at other suppliers’ ability to differentiate, there’s very little wiggle room. We looked at it seriously – but if you understand what the promise of BlackBerry is to its user base it’s all about getting stuff done. Games, media, we have to be good at it but we have to support those guys who are ahead of the game. Very little time to consume and enjoy content – if you stay true to that purpose you have to build on that basis. And if we want to serve that segment we can’t do it on a me-too approach.”
Heins is basically reiterating his earlier position on Android, though now it sounds like RIM was closer to adopting Google’s OS than previously thought. I can’t blame the guy for avoiding the Android pile-on though. Looking at HTC’s disappointing earnings report today, it’s clear that there’s really only room for one Android manufacturer at the top — and RIM won’t be unseating Samsung anytime soon.
Personally, I still think RIM has a better shot at repositioning itself as the premiere Windows 8 enterprise partner. Sure, Nokia is struggling with its Windows Phone partnership, but that doesn’t mean similar deals will fail (especially if RIM focuses on a single lucrative market). And it’s certainly better than waiting for BlackBerry 10 to debut next year.
On the topic of BlackBerry Messenger, Heins reiterated that he doesn’t want to bring the service to other platforms. “That’s what attracts people to BlackBerry,” he said. “This is our BlackBerry experience we can deliver – there’s no other system out there where you can read, write, check if you’ve read my message. We want to make it as differentiated as possible.”
Apparently, Mr. Heins hasn’t heard of iMessage, Kik Messenger, or the multitude of other modern messaging services that boast more features than BlackBerry Messenger.
In the same interview, the CEO noted that RIM may have to seek outside help when building BlackBerry 10 devices to keep up with the iPhone and Android. Though I can’t imagine who’d be crazy enough to pay for the privilege to build a BlackBerry 10 phone.