Tuesday, January 22, 2013

RIM CEO says that software and hardware unit licensing not out of the question

It has been rumored before and it is still a topic of interest. Could RIM make hay by licensing its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform? It's not out of the question, said CEO Thorsten Heins on Monday.

When asked about the possibility that RIM consider licensing BB10, as Microsoft did with Windows Phone, Heins said (translated from German using Google Translate):
Before you license the software, you must show that the platform has a large potential. First we have to fulfill our promises. If such proof, a licensing is conceivable.
Microsoft, however, didn't go that route. It simply licensed Windows Phone. Then again, Microsoft had been in the smartphone licensing business for some time, with Windows Mobile.

RIM, though, no longer has the relevance it once had. Back in the day, it might have been able to license its software sans proving the software's potential.

When asked why it is taking so long for RIM to launch BlackBerry 10, its answer to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, Heins said that delays -- and there have been many -- are because RIM wants a future-proofed platform that can run effectively for the next decade. In addition, RIM wants BB10 to be able to run on devices outside of smartphones. Heins said:
We have taken the time to build a platform that is future-proof for the next ten years. Our aim is not only to smartphones, but also to the use, for example, in cars that will be in the future increasingly networked. We see with BlackBerry 10 completely new areas of growth.
In addition, it's possible that RIM could license its hardware production unit, as well. Heins said that the company will not act in haste, though.
But there is no reason for us to decide in [haste]. The main thing for now is to successfully introduce Blackberry 10. Then we'll see.
Heins didn't address another possibility that has been raised before, licensing not the platform itself, but the technology necessary to connecte to BlackBerry servers. This would be similar to Microsoft licensing its ActiveSync protocol (which it has done) and could allow iOS or Android to natively connect to RIM servers.

BB10 is expected to launch into the wild this quarter.



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