Today we have seen a press release from RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins talking about the future of the company. Now of course there are many people who will not care for all the formal “CEO speak” that is required in a press release, but it is important that we all understand what exactly he was trying to say.
There is now doubt that RIM is going to go through a quarter or two of fairly poor sales in expectation of the BlackBerry 10 OS and devices. Heins even admitted that RIM probably lost money in Q1. However Heins has done an excellent job of outlining the future of the company and some things that RIM is doing in the lead up to BB10 to save some cash as well as keep the existing customer base happy.
Heins did announce that there are now over 76 million BlackBerry users worldwide, with the majority of that 1 million plus growth coming from outside of North America. Sadly RIM has taken a huge beating in North America, but the some of the promises of BB10 may help to turn the tide and bring back some users that have moved onto Android or iOS.
Obviously the app ecosystem is something that helps to draw in new users, as well as keep existing ones eyes from wandering. Thorsten announced that AppWorld now has over 80,000 apps which is a 220% increase from a year ago. Even though the BlackBerry PlayBook may not have seen the sales that we would have al liked to see, there are still more than 15,000 apps for the tablet in AppWorld which is a huge increase compared to the 2,000 at the same time last year.
Heins also spoke about the CORE (cost optimization and resource efficiency) program which is focused on helping RIM reduce some costs in anticipation of lower sales and profit quarters. The CORE program is aiming at a $1 billion in savings which unfortunately will mean that some RIM employees will be losing their jobs. I think that this is a necessary evil that will help RIM to stay on target with their new focus of the BlackBerry 10 platform.
The CEO also openly discussed some of RIM’s partnerships with several banks to help them review their financial performance. This is something that we have known about for some time, but the really interesting part is that Heins did not seem to have any qualms about discussing it openly. Hopefully these new partnerships will lead to some interesting financial adventures that RIM may have previously been hesitant to try. Either way RIM will have some of the top financial minds helping them evaluate their situation.
The overall feeling that we got from Heins in this press release is that he is willing to be very open and truthful about the future of RIM and BlackBerry. There was no ignorance about how RIM is doing, or excuses for why they are behind in terms of the mobile ecosystem, but rather that they are focused on the future and the new operating system that they have decided is going to take RIM to a better place.