RIM not in a 'death spiral,' CEO says
Research In Motion chief executive Thorsten Heins told CBC "there's nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now" and says he is confident the company will be a "very strong player" in smartphones for years to come.
"This company is not ignoring the world out there, nor is it in a death spiral," Heins told CBC's Matt Galloway on the Metro Morning radio show on Tuesday.
Heins' appearance was part of a media blitz aimed at selling the company's turnaround story in the midst of mounting hurdles, which include layoffs of about 5,000 people, faltering sales of its BlackBerry smartphones, a delay in bringing out the new BlackBerry 10 technology and a tanking stock price.
Heins defended Canada's leading technology company as part of RIM's efforts to convince customers and investors that it can survive intense competition from Apple and other competitors.
Heins took criticism when he took the reins of the company in January for failing to acknowledge that the company needed major changes. "Now I'm six months [on the job] and I know a bit more, that's for sure," he said.
Last week, the company announced an operating loss in excess of $500 million last quarter. Heins says he expects similar challenging quarters to come until the company's BlackBerry 10 launch, now expected in the early part of 2013.
But he rejects the notion that the company might not survive in its present form long enough to see the launch.
He says sales in other parts of the world remain strong and argued the transition to the BlackBerry 10 will be more than a product launch; it will be a completely different way for RIM to address mobile computing.
"We are still growing in Asia. There are still areas where we are No. 1," he said. "We are in the middle of a transition. We know what we are doing."
Heins said RIM was very successful over the years in part because of how BlackBerry was represented, with advantages in security, battery life and durability.
"We were optimistic that would carry forward forever, which it obviously doesn't do," he said. "The market has evolved."
He later addressed the perception that RIM's future is in doubt, given the product delays and intense competition from devices from Apple and using Google's Android operating system.
"Yes, it is very, very challenged at the moment — specifically in the U.S. market. The way I would describe it: we're in the middle of a transition," he said. "All that is in the making, it's in the works. This company is in the middle of it and I'm positive we will\ emerge successfully from that transition."
The new BlackBerry 10 operating system and phones have widely been considered a last-ditch effort to save the company, which has lost significant market share to the iPhone and Android phones.
With files from The Canadian Press