With just five days under his belt, Research In Motion’s new CEO Thorsten Heins has pledged to regain lost ground in the smartphone market. He said he has also held talks with rivals in a bid to talk them into licensing RIM’s software.And to demonstrate just who is now boss, he has shelved RIM founder and former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, putting him in what he calls a more “visionary” role. Presumably meaning Lazaridis has been moved right out of the decision-making process into a back room.
There was no immediate news on the future for his former co-CEO/chairman Jim Balsillie, but he is also presumed to be destined for a backroom appointment, if indeed he stays with the Canadian company. “Make no mistake – I’m the boss,” said Heins in a meeting with media.
RIM will begin a campaign with US carriers next week to entice consumers to try its latest BlackBerry 7 devices with touchscreens and better Web browsers, Heins told financial newswire Bloomberg.
He said the promotions won’t be about “just simply money”: they will also involve mobile apps -something RIM has notably been lacking, compared with Apple and Google/Android. “We have to do something dramatically different in the US to get our market share back,” said Heins. “I’m here to fight. I’m here to win.”
Heins, German-born and a 24-year veteran of Siemens, faces the challenge of reversing momentum at RIM after the company lost out in the smartphone market to Apple’s iPhone and devices that run on Android. RIM’s revenue has slumped in the past year, driving its shares down 75 percent.
He is said to be getting by on a handful of hours sleep a night so that he can travel by day to meet customers and run the business by night on his BlackBerry. The company needs to improve its marketing and communicate better to build excitement about its products, he said.
RIM’s US sales fell 45 percent last quarter.