“I’m wearing a new suit and its not made of Kevlar. I can still take the punches,” he told shareholders Tuesday at the company’s annual general meeting in Waterloo, Ont. “We will have to continue to take punches. This will not be an easy path.
He acknowledged that investors expected better results and faster progress from the company, which has been losing market share for over a year. “This is a long-term transition,” he added, “but I assure you we are pushing very hard to show you improvements.”
“The smart phone market isn’t defined in weeks of sales, or from one quarter to the next…There will be not just one or two winters in the market. It’s important how you position yourself, it’s important what you stand for, it’s important what segments you are pursing.”
Heins said the company is just starting phase two of its plan, after restructuring the company, saved $1 billion, trimming its supply line and launching the BlackBerry 10 platform and the first three new handsets (the Z10, the Q10 and the Q5).
This fiscal year will be about build and investing in the future by pushing adoption of the BES 10 platform, making the BlackBerry Messenger service “the social network platform of choice,” leveraging the company’s global data network beyond traditional uses and releasing several more BB10 devices. This phase, he said, is about building scale.
The final year of the plan will see a focus on returning to profitability and emphasizing BlackBerry as a mobile computing platform.
Heins repeated statements that the company is open to partnerships and alliances. But when asked by shareholder Vic Alboini, chairman and CEO of Jaguar Financial Corp., a Toronto merchant bank that has been highly critical of RIM management, if the company is considering breaking BlackBerry [TSX: BB] into hardware and software/services units, Heins demurred. His priority, he said, is to make the company bigger.
Once it is in a strong position in the market, “then what ever happens we’ll look at. Until then I can’t distract management.”
At the meeting the company officially changed its name from Research In Motion to BlackBerry.