If Thorsten Heins was wondering just how big the task was lying in front of him, the answer came pretty quickly this week when the global tech press slammed his opening comments as new RIM boss as just the sort of stuff that got the BlackBerry maker into trouble in the first place.
Well now he's come out and clarified those remarks, saying he's well aware that change is needed, and taking time to put the boot in to those endless Android clones in the process.
The writing was on the wall for former RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie a long time before their decision to step down a week ago, with the company unquestionably on the decline and new products seemingly stuck in an endless cycle of delays and disappointment.
Enter Thorsten Heins, the man charged with turning things around in the post Mike and Jim era, and it's fair to say he has his work cut out. It didn't help that his opening comments as the new man in charge seemed to have come straight from his predecessors' thick handbook of blinkered myopia.
“Sometimes RIM innovates too much”, he claimed, while the pick of the lot was: “if we continue doing well what we’re doing, I see no problems with us being in the top three players worldwide in the next years in wireless.”
Cue ridicule from the tech media, already sceptical by the fact that Lazaridis and Balsillie were in fact still on the RIM board – Lazaridis is now chairman of RIM's Innovation Committee, for example.
Now Heins is back to clarify his remarks, particularly the comment about remaining one of the top three players in the mobile game.
“I was talking about drastic or seismic changes,” Heins said in an interview with CrackBerry. “What I was trying to address was that there was some suggestion that RIM should be split up or should even be sold. My true belief is that RIM has the strength and the assets that we can really succeed in this market.” Yes, cos that's exactly the same.
What impressed us more was his comments on Android and the whole concept of differentiation in the smartphone market: “just take a look where the Android OEMs are,” Heins said. “Take a look at their recent announcements and what you will immediately see is there is just no room for differentiation because they are all the same.”
We're not saying he's right, but it's refreshing to see the RIM top brass actually showing some spine for a change.