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Heins' departure ends his brief reign at the top of BlackBerry

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Heins' departure ends his brief reign at the top of BlackBerry
Now that Thorsten Heins is out as CEO of BlackBerry, it is time to sit back and review his time at the top of the troubled manufacturer. Heins was named CEO of the Canadian firm in January 2012. He had been with RIM for nearly 5 years when handed over the reins at BlackBerry and his job was to overlook the rollout of BlackBerry 10. Unlike previous management, which often seemed befuddled and in denial, Heins appeared to be knowledgeable and aware.

Along the way, Heins sparred with the New York Times when the paper wrote a story about how ashamed some BlackBerry owners were of their device. He was a good-will ambassador for BlackBerry, sitting courtside at an NBA game with a BlackBerry 10 handset. Quickly becoming the face of BlackBerry, Heins introduced the new BlackBerry 10 to the world and when analysts starting questioning if sales of the BlackBerry Z10 were as good as the company was saying, it was the executive that defended the phone. Not that he didn't have some missteps along the way. Heins might have put his foot in his mouth this April when he said that tablets would be a dead product in five years.

It was the CEO who announced in August that the company would undergo the strategic review that led to the failed attempt to sell BlackBerry. And while it was the inability of Fairfax Financial to secure financing for its bid that led to today's announcement that Heins will be stepping down, in reality it was the failure of BlackBerry to put out a compelling phone with a matching OS that was to blame. BlackBerry had hoped that its new handsets would allow it to sneak in ahead of Windows Phone for third place behind Android and iOS. But unlike BlackBerry, Windows Phone found a niche in low-light photography which was able to sustain the platform until the GDR3 update made Windows Phone 8 a much improved challenger to the duopoly at the top.

Whether the $1 billion investment in BlackBerry can turn the company around  is obviously something that we can't know for now. But what we do know is that BlackBerry will have a new man at the top running the show.

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posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:10 5

1. ohiojosh78 (Posts: 25; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


He made better ketchup than cell phones. Oh...that's Heinz.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:31 7

3. _Bone_ (Posts: 2135; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


lol, that's not nice...

I feel for Heins, it was an uphill battle in terrible weather conditions, and it seems like he took the job seriously with knowledge and insight, but the avalanche was already coming down when he took the lead. I guess he'll get a decent job at rivals, he's better than Blackberry was under his reign.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:46 2

7. TheLolGuy (Posts: 483; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)


+1 I agree. He certainly had a mountain of problems sitting on his desk in his new office when he took up the position. I think some people realize that it would've taken something out of the blue to make BlackBerry shine again.

Besides, he was there only for 1 year. Things like making a completely new revamp of an OS takes many years, going back years before Thorsten Heins even became CEO. Also as the Motorola articles on this site have mentioned, products are planned out 2 years in advance give or take.

That means whoever decided to build the Z10 and Q10 was already done with the core design and the best that Mr. Heins could do was make sure it was polished. Everyone was disappointed by the delays BB10 was already seeing. Even if Mr. Heins knew that the coming BB10 devices were severely lacking, he'd have no choice but to release it rather than facing even more delays to scrap them and start all over.

1 year is not enough and I'm sure the smart investors already knew this.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:26

2. jcru2001 (Posts: 21; Member since: 27 Dec 2011)


I used just about every phone out there, currently droid maxx, galaxy s4 and BB q10. Both newer blackberries are great phones. Smooth operating systems, fantastically accurate keyboards and quick overall experience.....so why do they continue to fail?? App integration! It's miserable. Everything available is some one-off version of the real thing. Find a legit way (no side loading) to add Android apps to blackberry and they could make privatized comeback. I've been in the wireless phone game as a sales rep or store owner for close to 14 years and it continues to baffle me that they don't get this? Great phone, no apps = fail.

I want blackberry to succeed and thought Thorsten was making waves....I was wrong.

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:36

4. jove39 (Posts: 1305; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


It's time for reality check...Ditch BB10...adopt android asap...fork android like xiaomi did...integrate BB services...and start selling phone/tablet at nexus like prices...is it too hard for CEOs to understand basic dynamics of market!

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 09:46

5. ilia1986 (unregistered)


If only they switched to Android and made a BB torch/palm pre-like device with a slide-out physical portrait legendary BB keyboard... but nooo...

posted on 04 Nov 2013, 10:14

6. downphoenix (Posts: 2357; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


BB10 is a great os, but without the apps to accompany it, it isnt going to really go anywhere. I think a switch to Android will be inevitable if they plan on still making phones, and also better software support. When they do make the switch to android, maybe they should have it to where existing BB10 phones can be upgraded to the platform, and maybe for those that purchased apps for some way they can download those APKs for free through Blackberry for at least the 1st month or so. Dont screw over your customers like you have most BB5, BB6, BB7, and BB Playbook customers, actually give us proper support.

Otherwise, if they are going to bail on phones entirely, then they need to get their enterprise services rolled out to other platforms FAST.

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