The news of RIM promoting its COO Thorsten Heins to the position of CEO seems like its a good move from a shareholder perspective, but we won’t know its affect on the company for some time. Shareholders have been demanding a change in leadership for some time now, and if the Co-CEOs stepping down will instill more confidence in the company, then it had to happen sooner rather than later. We’re going to hold off on any judgements about Heins and his ability to lead until he’s had some time to get comfortable in the role. There’s a lot at stake here and the company is going through a major transition. Here are 5 key milestones that we see on the near horizon for Thorsten Heins.
Meet the new President and CEO of RIM at this YouTube link.
1. Secure BlackBerry 10- One of RIM’s core strengths is security. The media almost always underplays the value of enterprise, security and the monopoly that RIM has in government but it’s essential. No other mobile platform is making a dent in this market, regardless of what iOS and Android blogs will tell you. With the news that the PlayBook has been rooted, there’s obvious concerns for the stability and security of BlackBerry 10. Heins needs to make sure that when BlackBerry 10 hits the market, the security teams are always one step ahead of those trying to break the platform.
2. Get top tier apps – The PlayBook is already on a great start getting top tier apps to the platform. Games like Cut the Rope, Angry Birds, Roboto, and Machinarium are proof that BlackBerry 10 will be able to attract high-end, graphically intense games. The missing piece right now is what RIM has always called Super Apps and BlackBerry smartphone users will be expecting the best of the best in productivity for BlackBerry 10. Thorsten needs to make sure all hands are on deck to steer the platform in this direction.
3. Launch world-class hardware – We’re not all that clear about the first set of BlackBerry 10 smartphones. We’ve heard the Colt, essentially a smaller tablet, touchscreen phone, is going to be the first to launch. Rumor has it that RIM is cutting down the number of devices they’ll be typically shipping in a year to focus on a few form factors. It’s crucial that when these form factors are announced, that developers and consumers are all crystal clear on the hardware strategy. It’s also important for that hardware to leave nothing for the critics to harp on. We want product announcements that blow away even the harshest of critics.
4. Align QNX and RIM Marketing – There is a hidden weapon in the RIM arsenal that the company hasn’t really been discussing and that’s BlackBerry 10 integration. Through QNX, the BlackBerry 10 platform is more than just smartphones and tablets. QNX and BlackBerry 10 is about automotive and home too. Who knows what’s beyond that too; possibly desktops and laptops. At CES 2012, there seemed to be 2 separate companies. There was QNX that won Best of Show and BlackBerry, that was showing off a new PlayBook OS that was great, but didn’t exactly blow away the media. Bringing these two companies together for a cohesive vision and platform is going to be an important marketing decision that needs to be clear. We’re looking forward to seeing Thorsten oversee this transition and bringing these two great companies together under one message.
5. Make Bold moves – There’s a lot of rebuilding to do at RIM. Confidence has been shaken in the company and Heins is going to need to make some really Bold moves to inspire consumers and shareholders. Whether it’s giving away free PlayBooks with BlackBerry 10 smartphones, free apps, negotiating special carrier deals, or launching big marketing campaigns, these moves need to be more Bold than what we’ve seen before. RIM needs a CEO that’s making moves that are interpreted as intelligent, calculated and far reaching. These moves will bring confidence back to the market and consumers alike.