RIM’s new CEO Thorsten Heins said that the city of Ottawa is “central to its software strategy” and that has implications for both the city and the company. Ottawa is a city with a long history of tech and culture that can bring a lot of value to RIM. But there some obstacles ahead.
QNX, Ottawa and BlackBerry 10 are the future of RIM.
RIM has a great hardware business but the hardware industry is moving abroad and RIM is capitalizing on lower costs and fewer product offerings. This isn’t something that RIM faces alone. All mobile companies are realizing that hardware is limited and software is increasingly driving revenues. RIM makes a great piece of hardware with a superior keyboard and a battery that is unparalleled. What we want is softare that is comprised of very entertaining games and apps that make us more efficient.
In an article in the Ottawa Citizen, the new CEO Thorsten Heins, recently pointed to the fact that “almost all development for the company’s upcoming flagship BlackBerry 10 device is being done in the nation’s capital. [OTTAWA]” BlackBerry 10 is the future of RIM and Ottawa is going to play a central role in the company’s future. If RIM’s success is in some way tied to the success of Ottawa, there are benefits and challenges ahead.
Ottawa is incredibly proud of the technology industry that its created. We were once called “Silicon Valley North” and created many millionaires with employers like Nortel, Mitel and JDS Uniphase. Ottawa is a city bursting with talent too, 1/4 of the City has a University Degree and there’s plenty of opportunities for an educated workforce. Ottawa also has some great mobile startups and entrepreneurs with very healthy exits under their belt. Companies like Shopify are also putting this city on the map in terms of attracting investment. So Ottawa has talent, money, community and culture, but it could be doing better.
Ottawa needs to make itself more attractive in terms of both city culture and tech sector investment. Recently, a local paper called The Ottawa Xpress ran a cover with the headline “Ottawa Sucks” and a story that points out the need for frank discussion about how to revitalize the city.
Ottawa has also been having issues with the tech investment community. The software industry in Ottawa is having issues as entrepreneurs are finding it dificult to raise capital in this city. These issues are highlighted in a recent article by the Ottawa Business Journal at this link.
As someone who lives in Ottawa and whose livelihood depends on the tech sector, I’m hoping that this move will help revitalize RIM and the local economy. There is a long history of great tech entrepreneurs in Ottawa, and RIM moving its software industry to Ottawa will give the company a competitive advantage. At this same time, Ottawa, like RIM, needs to change itself and make some “Bold” moves.
Ottawa and RIM have a lot in common. The two have great foundations but are seen as needing to revitalize themselves and in need of a cool-over. The good news is that everyone agrees that change is needed and it’s coming.