RIM New CEO Thorsten Heins: Blackberry Needs to Target Consumers

Written by Gina Smith

RIM is restarting, in many ways. But is it too late to save Blackberry? Now that co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie are out, it’s up to new CEO Thorsten Heins to turn RIM around.

Waterloo, CAN: To industry watchers, there’s been nothing smart about smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM) of late. And now it has a new CEO. That would be its old COO, Thorsten Heins.  It’s a rough time for one-time tech titan TIM, still Canada’s biggest tech company. The company’s been bleeding for nearly a year, easily having lost three quarters of its market value over 2011 as Apple, Samsung and, even, late comer Microsoft/Nokia moved in.

The long time darling of enterprise, RIM only lost ground with its co-CEOs — founder Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. They are out officially on Monday, the company confirmed to The Globe and Mail.  That outlet posted the news at 12:01 ET, early Monday.

Here’s the note, reprinted by The Globe and Mail, the duo emailed RIM employees late Sunday evening.

On Jan. 22, 2012 at 10:07 p.m., former RIM co-CEOs sent the following email to their employees.

Today marks the beginning of an exciting new era in the history of RIM. As you have likely seen, only moments ago, RIM announced that we will transition to a new leader, pursuant to the succession plan we had previously given to the Board. Recently, we went to the Board and told them that with BlackBerry 7 now out, PlayBook 2.0 shipping in February and BlackBerry 10 expected to ship later this year, we felt it was time to transition to a new CEO. We told the Board that there comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership. For RIM, that time is now and that leader is Thorsten Heins. Based upon our strong recommendation, and following its own due diligence, the Board appointed Thorsten Heins as RIM’s President and CEO.

New RIM CEO Thorsten Heins talks on this RIM-produced video about how he plans to turn things around for the beleaguered Canadian company. The key, he says, is to keep a focus on enterprise while also wooing consumers. Sounds obvious enough. Now why do you need to hit [ALT][Q] to render a pound sign again? Is it too late for RIM? Tell us what you think — or scroll down for a full list of ALT codes you need to operate the thing.

Here’s Heins:

“We’ve learned a lot … to never lose this innovation spirit. And also, when we say the product is defined, we move decisively,” says Heins in the video, continuing with “we are a great innovative company, but sometime we innovate too much … we need to get a bit better (at targeting consumers).”

An overhaul of QNX is first up, the company says. If you’ve ever worked for a company that forced you to carry around a Blackberry, just nod at the below.  This should give you an idea of how consumer-unfriendly QNX-based Blackberry is —  it’s a list of codes I used to carry to operate mine. These courtesy of the site BBGeeks:

To display signal in decibels rather than bars: Hold Alt and press N M L L. The same sequence turns it back. I did this on my 8330, and it just made the bars invisible; no decibel meter appeared.

To verify Address Book file: Hold Alt and press V A L D in Address Book. To reorganize your Address Book, hold Alt and press R B L D.

To view Web page source code: Hold Alt and press R B V S when on the Web page.

View technical information: Hold Alt and left Shift, then press H. This brings up crucial information about your device which can be useful when seeking help from technical support (or forums, but some of that info you might want to keep to yourself). You can view your IMEI by pressing * # 0 6 # on the Home Screen — though I did not get this to work myself.

Simulate a battery pull: Instead of Ctrl-Alt-Delete, this one is Alt-Right Shift-Delete. Make sure to hit Right Shift, not Left Shift.


  • I’m guessing that Thorsten is also helping to set the company up for a fire sale at some point – or to start selling IP and or their services to others.

    The company is appears, currently, to be worth more by being broken up and sold piecemeal. If Thorsten can turn it around, though, bravo to him and his team.

  • I think RIM should split into two, a licensing OS company and a hardware company. The phones should be QNX capable. And WebOS capable. FWIW.