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Friday, March 30, 2012, 03:08 pm PT (06:08 pm ET)

RIM not leaving consumer market despite dismal earnings

After releasing a bleak quarterly earnings report, embattled BlackBerry maker Research in Motion on Friday clarified that it will not pull out of the consumer sector, and will continue its new strategy of targeting more specific audiences .

RIM Managing Director of Global Sales and Regional Marketing Patrick Spence responded to a number of media reports that claimed the company would be exiting the consumer space, telling Pocket-Lint that the assertions were "wholly inaccurate."

"While we announced plans to re-focus our efforts on our core strengths, and on our enterprise customer base, we were very explicit that we will continue to build on our strengths to go after targeted consumer segments," Spence said. "We listed BBM, as well as the security and manageability of our platform, among these strengths.”

Spence's comments came after a number of media outlets misinterpreted statements made on Thursday night by RIM's new President and CEO Thorsten Heins, who said "we believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people. Therefore, we plan to build on our strength."

While the company is looking to restructure its business model, cutting weight and re-focusing on core strengths instead of trying to battle industry heavyweights like Apple, it is reportedly not yet ready to abandon the consumer market.

As part of RIM's new direction, the company will "seek partnerships to deliver those consumer features and content that are not central to the BlackBerry value proposition, for example media consumption applications"

One such co-op product is the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion project which is expected to facilitate advanced management functions for iOS devices. It was reported earlier this month that RIM was hiring developers with iOS experience to work on Mobile Fusion, though a release date has yet to be announced.

RIM is also reportedly planning to push its current BlackBerry 7 smartphones ahead of the company's next-generation BlackBerry 10, which has already seen multiple delays. Sales of the handset line is suffering and was recently passed by Apple's iPhone on RIM's home turf.

BlackBerry Bold 9900

RIM plans to aggressively market BlackBerry 7 to reach a wider audience.


Friday's announcement comes on the heels of RIM's quarter four 2011 earnings call which signaled the mass exodus of top executives including co-CEO Jim Balsillie, CTO David Yach and global COO Jim Rowan. Also announced was a huge revenue miss on substantial drops in shipments of BlackBerry handsets and PlayBook tablets.

CEO Thorsten Heins

RIM President and CEO Thorsten Heins takes the reins after top executives resign.


Heins said during the Thursday night conference call that the company would halt future guidance because of "continued pressure on revenue and earnings throughout fiscal 2013." He went on to note that the company plans "to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalize on [its] leading position in this segment."