For organizations, a new BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 mobile management suite has just been released that can not only handle BlackBerrys but also Apple iPhones, iPads and Android-based smart phones and tablets.
The launch will also kick off a furious sales and marketing effort by RIM staff, including a three month, 14-city global blitz to convince customers, developers and channel partners the platform is worth investing in.
Heins will bask in the spotlights.
But the moment will also kick off the company’s race to solidify its shaky future.
Once loyal customers have also been departing for cooler, large-screen Apple iPhones and Android-powered handsets, particularly Samsung’s Galaxy S III, making its global market share drop and its share in the U.S plunge.
Technologically, RIM has been left behind as buyers sought platforms that offer access thousands more mobile applications, music and videos.
In turn corporations have opened up to other smart phones, meaning once-reliable sales have vanished.
This has created a creaky foundation for RIM: Software developers shy away from BlackBerry 6 and 7 operating systems, CIOs and IT managers drop support and carriers unenthusiastically carry its products.
To some degree, former RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis recognized the need to overhaul the Java-based BB6/7 and in 2010 bought an Ottawa company called QNX Systems, which made a rugged operating system used in high-end cars and nuclear reactors.
But the next-generation platform aimed at rescuing the company, now known as BlackBerry 10, is a year behind its promised launch.
That year has been costly – Lazaridis and co-CEO Jim Balsillie are no longer around. RIM has been forced to slash staff and $1 billion. And it is contemplating almost every option including licencing BB10 to other handset makers, getting out of the handset-making business altogether, and, if the right offer comes along, being bought and possibly taken apart.
BB10 lets RIM keep up with and possibly step ahead of Apple and Samsung.
But in an age when, as one Canadian business writer once said, the only companies are the quick and the dead – especially apt in the furious mobile industry – is it too little too late?