RIM looks to BB10, software licensing for survival

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Research in Motion CEO Thorstein Heins said in a Thursday earnings conference call that the company is working hard to overcome the challenges faced by the rapidly expanding smartphone market and is looking to the upcoming BB10 platform and licensing deals for BlackBerry Messenger to survive.

After posting its first operating loss since 2004 on poor device sales and waning market interest, Research in Motion is looking to the BlackBerry 10 OS and companion smartphone to open a new chapter in the company's history, reports The Wall Street Journal.

"I’m not satisfied," Heins said of the company's bleak first fiscal quarter of 2013. "I want to show you we’re not standing still"

He went on to say that the once-lucrative overseas market has dried up for BlackBerry devices as Android and iOS gobble up worldwide marketshare.

As for the anticipated mini PlayBook" and notes that the delays are "not due to quality" issues. He also said that carriers may actually prefer a 2013 launch as networks will be faster and more robust. BB10 has been pushed back for over a year and some analysts believe that when the mobile OS launches it will be too little, too late.

Heins said the once-powerful Canadian company will pare down its handset offering and focus on the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 in a last-ditch attempt to compete with the two prevailing smartphone operating systems, Apple's iOS and Google's Android. RIM CFO Brian Bidulka reiterated a push toward a limited model offering, alluding that a structure more in line with Apple's one handset per year strategy may be more beneficial than a deluge of devices.

Despite moving to a more Apple-based hardware business model, RIM is looking to keep the software side of BB10 much like Android and Heins said that the platform is "fully open." He qualifies the statement by saying, "we are not trying to be one of many, we’re trying to be different.”

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins. | Source: Business Week

While software licensing wasn't fully detailed, Heins mentioned that the company was aggressively pursuing possible deals for BlackBerry Messenger among other security-centric assets. When asked about the current state of RIM's patent holdings, the executive refused to comment but claimed the company was in "a good position." It was rumored in April that a financial advisor had been brought on to examine the company's patent licensing options, but there has yet to be any official news regarding the subject.

While plans to plug the holes in RIM's ship are already in action, the situation will likely become worse before it gets better as the company warned of more losses next quarter. Some are concerned that the the BlackBerry maker may not be able to hold on long enough to see the proposed changes bear fruit, but it appears the company has no intention of yielding to rumored takeover bids and will weather the storm alone.


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