BlackBerry 10 licensing will only work for RIM outside of mobile

BlackBerry 10 licensing will only work for RIM outside of mobileWe heard the suggestion for the first time in RIM CEO Thorsten Heins' interview with The Telegraph the other day, and now he's repeated it again to Bloomberg: the company wants to license out the BlackBerry 10 OS to other hardware makers.

The principle is a simple one: thanks to years of declining earnings, RIM has had to downscale its operations significantly, and so only with outside help can it give BB10 the cross-market presence to make a serious dent in the market.

The challenge for RIM here is twofold: first, if you look at the other two major multi-OEM platforms, Android and Windows Phone, neither is made by a company that also manufacturers devices running it.

If RIM's licensees make better BB10 devices than the company's own next-generation BlackBerrys, what then? Or worse still, if they get them on the market first – a distinct possibility given that the first BB10 smartphones from RIM will only launch in 2013 while the OS itself will reportedly be made available to potential licensees soon, or so the Bloomberg piece claims.

The second issue, and an even bigger one if you're looking purely at the smartphone/tablet market, is who will be willing to take that challenge on in the first place?

For BlackBerry 10 to succeed, let's not forget, RIM needs to make ground over Google, Apple and Microsoft – and considering what they spend collectively on developer initiatives and incentives, marketing, R&D and (increasingly) patent-hoovering, can you really see any of the major players willing to make a switch?

Let's not forget how long it's taking Nokia, the most recent big phone maker to switch platforms, to make any kind of headway – in fact, the argument is still out whether it'll happen at all.

Instead, RIM's and BlackBerry 10's salvation may lie where the company has already made ground via its QNX platform: the likes of the automotive and military industries (after all, we hear Canada's neighbours to the south spend a fair bit of cash on the latter these days).

Heins is no fool, and despite all his super-optimistic talk of planning to lead RIM back to the very summit, he isn't going to pitch RIM headlong into a battle it simply isn't going to win right now.

Stop the rot with a few decent BlackBerry BB10 handsets, offer attractive terms to a few OEMs to spread the word, and accept that for the time being, any serious inroads the platform is going to make is likely to occur away from the consumer tech mainstream – and yes, even RIM's traditional consumer/corporate heartland.

Get that right for a couple of years and then we can talk seriously about recovery.

Read more about: Blackberry OS

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5 comments

Pondlife  Aug. 14, 2012 at 19:00

Well HTC should have some manufacturing capacity? As they only want the other manufacturers to make the budget ones might be looking at the Huawei, ZTE end of the market though.
I think any other manufacturer will be prevented from getting to the market early anyway.

matt101101 / MOD  Aug. 14, 2012 at 19:26

I wouldn't let HTC make a phone for me. Their designs are flawed and their build quality (not to be confused with materials quality) is awful.

As for ZTE and Huawei, they've spent ages trying to make a name for themselves, they're not going to want to start producing yet more licensed products for RIM.

As for the big boys (Samsung and Apple), Apple just don't care and I don't think even Samsung's "fingers in every pie" would stretch as far as BB10.

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 14, 2012 at 19:49

I wouldn't let HTC make a phone for me. Their designs are flawed and their build quality (not to be confused with materials quality) is awful.

As for ZTE and Huawei, they've spent ages trying to make a name for themselves, they're not going to want to start producing yet more licensed products for RIM.

As for the big boys (Samsung and Apple), Apple just don't care and I don't think even Samsung's "fingers in every pie" would stretch as far as BB10.
True... HTC have been quite ruthless in the past when making phones for others. They gave Sony Ericsson the awful winmo Xperia, but for themselves they made the HD2 ;)

Pondlife  Aug. 14, 2012 at 19:51

Well it's not making a phone for them per se is it?
It wouldn't be any different to their android and wp8 phones would it?
Yep those two no chance, nor motorola ;) LG? They could be a bit desperate.

matt101101 / MOD  Aug. 14, 2012 at 20:00

Well it's not making a phone for them per se is it?
It wouldn't be any different to their android and wp8 phones would it?
Yep those two no chance, nor motorola ;) LG? They could be a bit desperate.

True, technically, but the name "BlackBerry" will always be associated with RIM, whereas Android isn't associated with a single manufacturer.

LG is a possibilty, their Android efforts are mediocre (at best) and I don't even know of any other phones they currently make.

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