RIM CEO needs more than buzz words to sell BlackBerry 10

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
RIM CEO needs more than buzz words to sell BlackBerry 10
No one is quite sure what to make of BlackBerry 10 just yet, some think it will be "dead on arrival", while some think it will be a success. Not surprisingly, Thorsten Heins, RIM CEO, is one person who thinks that there is hope for the platform. A big part of the plan seems to be to target globally, which would be great because when describing the product, he doesn't have much more than buzz words to prove his point. We have definitely liked the limited things we've seen in the form of BlackBerry 10, but the quality of the platform doesn't mean much if the CEO can't explain in interviews why the product is good.

As part of his current world tour promoting BlackBerry 10, Heins gave an interview to South African journalist Arthur Goldstuck, a writer for MarkLives. In the article, Heins comes off as a leader who definitely excels in business strategy, but maybe not one who is all that great at marketing his company's product. Heins said that the strategy for RIM is to continue to focus on a global strategy, inclining emerging smartphone markets like Mexico, Nigeria, Indonesia, and the Philippines. RIM has had success in these areas, and is looking to continue that trend with BlackBerry 10. Heins said that the global success of BlackBerry has helped the company to compensate for losses in the USA.

On that point, Heins also says that a key to success in the USA is "trust building" because the brand doesn't hold as much power in the market that it once had. The business strategy of RIM sounds pretty solid with its aim to build traction globally while trying to change the image of the company in the USA. The trouble is that when Heins tried talking about the product itself, he wasn't nearly as convincing. He said:

Saying that RIM aims to "fulfill" user requirements is okay, though we're sure his PR team would have rather he used the phrase "exceed expectations". And past that, it gets even worse. Having a "touch version" of BlackBerry isn't impressive these days, nor is an LTE radio. Those things are standards, not amazing features. The best Heins could come up with was claiming that BlackBerry would be introducing a "new user paradigm", which sounds impressive, but it really doesn't mean anything at all. Those corporate buzz words have no meaning in the marketing world. The average user (and many of the elite users) will hear the phrase "new user paradigm" and lose interest. 

We may get sick of companies that exaggerate marketing by using terms like "amazing", or "magical", but at least those terms are usually referring to a specific feature of the product. The only actual feature of BlackBerry that Heins mentioned was BlackBerry Messenger, which has been the platform's killer app for years. It's a great feature, and one that is especially popular internationally, but using BBM as a talking point doesn't drum up any interest in BlackBerry 10. We have seen interesting features in BlackBerry 10, but Heins didn't mention any of them

We'd like to hear better things from Thorsten Heins, but he always seems to disappoint somewhat. He's not the natural salesman that Steve Jobs was; he's not even the super-smart "what-will-he-say-next" guy like Eric Schmidt; and he's not even the "how-funny-can-we-make-him-look-in-this-frame-capture" kind of guy like Steve Ballmer. He certainly seems to have a solid grasp of the business strategy end of things, but he has not proven to be the guy who should be the face of RIM when it comes to selling the product, and that could ultimately hurt the outlook of BlackBerry 10.

source: MarkLives



1. Aeires unregistered

They should have crashed the project and got this ready for the holiday shopping season. It'll still sell, but they missed a huge target with their "next year" predictions.

5. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Rushing the project is what hurt the Playbook (Well that and the price point, but that's another subject). RIM is making sure to not do that on BB10. If they can have a successful BB10 launch, then they would at least have a shot at trying the tablet thing again. If BB10 sputters, they will either die or have to switch over to Android or WP8. BB10 will have a better shot if its launched when ready, not before.

9. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

totally agree with you! im a huge BlackBerry fan but the PlayBook is overprice!(7" for $550 at launch!?) but it is worth to buy now! especially that PlayBook is now for only $149 and OS 2.1 makes it very stable... and the best part is its upgradable to BB10... so yeah...rushing the product will kill them... and besides they dont have that much money to do ads to advertise their product coz google, apple and microsoft has a lot of money to spend for ads! all i do is wait! patience is a virtue! BlackBerry 10 will come!

15. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

I got bored right outta my guts after reading about three paragraphs of this stupid article!!

17. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

yeah... me too... i actually didnt read the whole article... i just skip a couple of paragraphs... PA can do better than this... but why hate? why put negative feedbacks?

28. Nicholas.Oliver

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

LOL playbook is a joke, it doesnt even exist anymore..149 worth ? nope tq, i'd rather use it to eat :) playbook = crap blackberry 10 will come to your graveyard

34. pikaposukks

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

Even if they put BB10 on playbook, it would still overprice. Even if current BB line up have BB10, it still won't be able to fight android and iOS.

39. Nicholas.Oliver

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

I couldn't agree more with your comment! have a good day bro!

12. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

with each passing day it seems more like BB10 is all hype and gas talk! I mean what the heck is the company doing...this thing announced sometime this year beginning and we dont have anything not even a proper preview! Just looks bad for BB10 and by the time they release thier phones the hardware they announced woul have moved from the premium class to the upper-middle to middle class nullifying the advantage hardwae could have added as the selling point. As for the softwware we'll just have to wait and see

35. pikaposukks

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

That's because RIM were dumbOS company who'se expertise were only BBM and email, and still doing bad in that area (hint: the Blackbery internet problem that make all BB user can't receive any message/internet for a couple of days... over and over again) So, right now, they only sell hype only a fool who think this kind of company can create REAL smartphone OS.

40. Nicholas.Oliver

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

wow, pikapowerize wouldn't be happy

47. DerryAhmad

Posts: 296; Member since: May 05, 2012

I agreed. RIM is missing this holiday season shopping spree. Maybe they're learning from the Apple Maps fiasco? Maybe cause Androind/WP8/BB costumers aren't so forgiving as Apple fans?

2. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

I think he said the right things you are just expecting too much michael and I understand why but This is a starting point to his turn around and just because hes not giving you what you want to hear doesnt mean the product itself wont be as "Fulfilling" as you think it may be........It doesnt hurt to have faith in a company that may seem to be dying to some.......and since you write about these companies you should want to report something good of them and its quite hard to do that if you dont believe they can succeed........peace to you bro :)

3. BigRed83

Posts: 144; Member since: May 19, 2008

Here's a thought: A long term company whose technology has yet to be surpassed. Yeah, the two yahoos as CEO they dumped set them back a bit. They have a new OS, BBM, BB security, and a current culture of hardware and UI. There will be a market for Blackberry, as mobile security will move even higher in prominence, like cyber-security is hot in the PC space. Android and iOS have shown their vulnerability to malware, viruses, etc. If, next spring, when they are supposed to launch, if it falters in the retail space, I can see either Moogle or Redmond swooping in to pick them up. My .02

4. nwright94 unregistered

Moogle? Like from final fantasy?

13. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

LOOOL hey ive actually been playing ff9 im on the 3rd disc but stuck and not sure what to do.........but the moogle joke was funny bro :) or should i say.......kupo?

19. nwright94 unregistered

Haha I'm playing through the kingdom hearts game right now :)

6. andrew1953

Posts: 176; Member since: Nov 13, 2011

Don't listen Thorsten to the detractors,they are not worthy of your time.Keep up the great work you are doing.

7. martinikatz

Posts: 6; Member since: May 05, 2012

I admit that I'm a Blackberry fan. Apart from that, in reading the article above, what stood out somewhat was the writer's making an effort to look at things negatively. His negative points seem to show an amount of "wishful thinking," or more directly "a death wish regarding Blackberry." He jumped at every opportunity, whether warranted, somewhat far-fetched, or not, to be skeptical to the point of revealing his hopes and desires to be able to be negative. Blackberry is clearly "up against the wall" in the smartphone market, and it is a "do or die" moment when Blackberry 10 comes out. Unless there's some behind the scenes insider information options trading, I feel strongly that the executives at Blackberry want to succeed. They aren't lame or feeble, and they're going to do what they can to be totally competitive, whether they use what the writer of this article deems to be the right terms or phrasing for presenting the features they're working on. The company is being directed by a whole new group of forward-looking directors now. They probably deserve more credit than the writer of this article could imagine.

10. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

i really dont understand why people needs to be negative! maybe they could be neutral but not negative coz it wont appeal to all! i think the writer wants to please haters and other platform users! the reason why fanboyism is annoying! they are bias! hope to see a writer that is not a fanboy of everyone! just neutral to everything! at least we'll see some unbiased write up! sad sad world! :(

16. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Neutral and unbiased doesn't mean unopinionated.

22. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

You're right about that but you can't reasonably claim this is an unbiased write up.

24. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

i didnt think it was biased just thought he may have been expecting a lil to much from them, when I feel, they will do good with what they have.... and while they may not "take the number one spot" they will definitely do some good :) and who knows maybe more

25. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

If I'm wrong about Heins, then I can see where someone can call it biased. But, am I wrong about him? He seems like a business strategy guy, and it looks like RIM doesn't have a solid product guy. Am I wrong there?

27. martinikatz

Posts: 6; Member since: May 05, 2012

I may be wrong, but if he is European (i.e. German, Swiss, Austrian), he wouldn't be prone to show-boating or flambouyancy in his speech. That, to those of us in North America, might look like a lack of faith or pride in his product. It could just be his style of expression, even though he is in a competitive industry that tends to sensationalize every new feature or version.

30. Nicholas.Oliver

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

fanboys and haters are different, you are a fanboy, im a hater, don't you get that ? RIM is a dying company ! just deal with i ? what makes it so hard ?

8. onethreealpha

Posts: 14; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Oh surprise surprise. Wouldn't want to show too much enthusiasm for a new UI like BB10's. After all it might be better than the 5 year-old clucnky interface of iphonearena's "magical" and "amazing" favourite mobile handset. While others are talking up the prospect of the competition another option provides, you guys just keep playing the broken record.....

26. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

That's not the point. It doesn't matter how good the platform is (and we do think it looks nice) if the CEO can't explain why it's a good platform.

11. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

" Heins said that the strategy for RIM is to continue to focus on a global strategy, inclining emerging smartphone markets like Mexico, Nigeria, Indonesia, and the Philippines." this is so true and that makes me love RIM more coz again, they have "Decent" market share in these places so they should continue the support to these places! "Heins also says that a key to success in the USA is "trust building" because the brand doesn't hold as much power in the market that it once had." true again! the very reason that nokia is dying coz they forgot where is there market! US is not the world and definitely not their market! maybe they have a market there but not that big unlike they have in europe and asia! symbian is dying in US but to the other part of the world----its not! so if nokia what to keep relevant, use symbian in low end not s40! coz it is more capable than your s**tty java OS! coz people will look for specs first, there's actually a dual core android phone at price $97 with 512MB of RAM.... while your asha only has 64MB of ram and the pointless 1ghz for what? performing better tasks? lol to that! it cant even multitask! so yeah, even though s40 dont need the android standards but most consumers will think that they are cheated if they buy an asha phone but has a very low spec while they could get a good spec phone on same price! but if they put symbian their, it is worth to buy! i mean symbian can tun on 256MB of RAM and 800mhz of processor speed! thats why i love RIM more! they need to rebuild their market in US but not pushing their limits! especially that US only care about iOS and android! WP cant even put a break through before nokia join the WP party! and now WP is relevant thanks to nokia!

32. pikaposukks

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 10, 2012

You really funny guy... The problem with RIM is not the same as nokia. RIM problem were because they were so stuck up in BBM & push email & security that they die. They thought they were the only company can do all of that.... let me explain... When Android and iOS concurred the world (2 years ago), BBM became irrelevant because if your main reason to use BB is to BBM, and you have little or no friend on BBM and must use what's app or any other messaging apps, then, why you still using BB? Now, RIM did understand that problem, that's why they want to run away from their dumbOS as fast as they can, but right now the ecosystem is bigger. *IF* you use RIM BB OS10, and your friend with android and iOS can play the brand new Angry Bird Star Wars and Bad Piggies star wars, you will look like a donkey. Of course RIM can pay game developer the way Microsoft/Nokia did. They could pay Electronic Arts, Rovio, etc to launch the game the same time for their platform as other platform, but this is not a healthy business, and not all developer will follow that. Another RIM problem is, RIM used to be a dumbOS vendor who have 2 apps, BBM and email. now they wanna became smartOS vendor. This is like an analogy RIM is a bicycle factory who wanna be an aircraft factory. Proof? look at how poor the Playbook OS were... look at how long it took them to release BB10. By the time BB10 were out, it won't be able to beat android and iOS, and die.

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