This morning, Thorsten Heins spoke during a company wide meeting at Research In Motion about everything BlackBerry. The meeting was around two hours long and covered pretty much every topic, from the delay of BlackBerry 10 to what will happen in the meantime.
The delay in BlackBerry 10 has been caused by a number of things. A few of these reasons were covered in the earnings call and in the press release yesterday but the meeting this morning helped expand a little more what we heard before.
Now just as a little disclaimer, I hated yesterday. I was disappointed and angry and frankly I still am at RIM management for not being straight forward with us from the beginning (This article will not address that). Nevertheless, after a day of thinking and learning more about the situation, I understand why the decision was taken to push BlackBerry 10 back.
Rome was not built in a day
Making a new OS is ridiculously complicated. It's not the same as updating a new OS or adding new features to an existing one. It is literally built from the ground up. The hundreds of thousands (dare I say millions) of lines of code that have to be written take up an insane amount of time (obvious statement).
How long does it usually take to make a new OS? Well for example, Apple took around 3 years (36 months) to develop iOS and the original iPhone hardware. Not sure if you recall, but that device didn't even have copy and paste, video recording or MMS capabilities. Still, to develop the OS and make it compatible with the hardware, it took them 3 years.
Google took less than 3 years to develop Android but let's face it, Android's original OS was pretty awful and it took time for it to mature into what we know today as Google's Android.
Thorsten was open with everyone about the fact that with the timeline that was originally suggested of "later part of 2012," RIM was unrealistically trying to get BlackBerry 10 out to the public in sixteen (16) months. With the extra quarter, they have bought themselves an extra 4 months - 6 months (depending in what part of Q1 2013 they release BB10) to make it happen. That time is invaluable.
Thorsten also informed everyone that all personnel responsible for BlackBerry 10 have been working tirelessly around the clock; literally 24/7 in some cases, to get every part of the new OS done right and will continue to do so in the coming months up to the launch.
Carriers involvement in the delay of BlackBerry 10
We don't buy our phones directly from RIM, but instead through each countries' wireless carriers. This being the case, carrier relations, in the US especially, are vital to the success of BlackBerry 10. Before the delay was even official, most of these carriers had voiced their concern with being able to push BlackBerry 10 strongly if it launched in the fall of 2012 and suggested a later release. With the launch of the iPhone 5, most of the attention of carrier marketing campaigns and such will obviously be geared towards Apple's new device. It benefits RIM, in that sense, to release their devices later when new competition/arrivals are slim to none.
Both BlackBerry 10 devices will be out at the same time
Since BlackBerry 10 as a whole has been delayed, the all touch (code named L-Series) device will be launching pretty much concurrently as the full QWERTY (code named N-Series) device. This was thought to be the case, but at least it's nice to know it will happen.
RIM's new marketing strategy
New RIM CMO, Frank Boulben, also addressed RIM's marketing strategy for the future. There will be a shift in the way RIM markets their products to the public (finally!) and everyone seemed really excited about it. When asked what happens after the launch of BlackBerry 10, Boulben enthusiastically responded "we sell it!"
Boulben and his team's new "Branded House" marketing strategy could mean a change of the name of Research In Motion, the actual company, even. I'll go more in depth about what this new strategy could mean in a future post, but just know it'll "be bold."
Layoffs at RIM
The ugliest part of the meeting was definitely talking about the impending layoffs. About 10% of them have been done and the remainder will be occurring within the next 3 weeks.
Stock price and meeting with investors
Thorsten Heins and RIM upper management will be meeting with investors for the next couple of weeks. These meetings will obviously be crucial to how well they perceive the future of BlackBerry and how it reflects on the state of the stock.
Thorsten was handed a pretty ugly situation. Those that watched the meeting live will attest to how honest, and refreshing, yet firm, he was about the state of BlackBerry. He didn't sugarcoat anything. The meeting was emotional at times and his "realness" was palpable. RIM is rallying around their CEO and have given him their full support.
Everyone kept repeating how re-energized they felt after leaving the meeting today. If you think yesterday was tough on you because of the device/brand you like, imagine how those RIM employees felt. Today's meeting was necessary for the morale of the company as now, more than ever, it is important for everyone of them to stick together and finish the goal they set out to accomplish, releasing BlackBerry 10.