RIM's new CEO has confirmed he is open to the possibility of licensing BlackBerry 10 to other manufacturers, though says he is loath to give up the "integrated solution" of software, hardware and more without good strategic reason. "We're strong because we have an integrated solution: network, services, enterprise service and fantastic devices and a fantastic ecosystem" freshly elected CEO and President Thorsten Heins said this morning, during an investor call regarding his new position. "Not many companies have [an integrated system], one is the other fruit company, and one is us."
Asked whether previous reports of a willingness to license RIM's QNX-based platform were true under his leadership, Heins indicated that while it's not off the table it's also perhaps unlikely at this stage. Although several sources suggested the Canadian company was shopping BlackBerry 10 around to rivals, with both Samsung and HTC tipped at one point, Heins appears to be taking a more wait-and-see approach:
"My view on RIM is a very, very clear view. We're strong because we have an integrated solution: network, services, enterprise service and fantastic devices and a fantastic ecosystem. I want to build on that, I will not in any way separate that. If there [are] requests coming in to RIM about licensing for other companies, I will listen, and if it makes sense strategically and tactically then I will go forth" Thorsten Heins, CEO and President, RIM
As for whether RIM might extend its appeal by broadening its product portfolio to include cheaper phones, Heins said the company is committed to smart devices. "We play in the smartphone segment, we're not going to go feature-phone, we're not going to go further down" he said, suggesting the market opportunity is in current feature-phone users upgrading to their first smart handset. "There's still a lot of feature-phone owners out there, there's a huge potential for people going from feature-phones to smartphones."