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Analysts: The future of BlackBerry is corporate users

Jennifer Collins Jan 23, 2012

Adriene Hill: There’s a new boss at Research In Motion. That’s the firm that makes BlackBerry phones. Thorsten Heins took the reigns today at the struggling Canadian company. He replaces the two former CEOs who helped turn the firm into one of the top mobile phone makers in the world.

On a conference call earlier today, Heins said people shouldn’t expect dramatic rethinks under his charge.

Thorsten Heins: I don’t think that there is some drastic change needed. We are evolving, we are evolving our strategy, we are evolving our tactics, our processes.

Hill: But is evolving really enough? The “Crackberry” seems to have lost some of its addictive qualities, or at least been replaced by other smartphone addictions. For more we’ve got Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins. Good morning, Jennifer.

Jennifer Collins: Good morning.

Hill: So Heins says he’s not going to remake the company in a dramatic way, but doesn’t RIM need to do something?

Collins: Yeah, Apple and Google’s Android systems claim more than 90 percent of new smartphone purchases. Only one in 20 is a BlackBerry. So some say Research In Motion should stop trying to compete for regular customers like you and me. It should go after big institutional buyers.

Chris Green is a tech analyst with Davies Murphy. He says the BlackBerry is still popular with hospitals, law firms, not to mention government agencies, and the simple reason is security.

Chris Green: You can disable them immediately the moment one gets lost. You don’t have instances of confidential information getting into the hands of the wrong people. This is where BlackBerry is extremely strong, and where it’s stronger than the likes of Apple.

Collins: Or any other phone maker for that matter.

Hill: So what can BlackBerry do to attract new customers?

Collins: Well BlackBerry is stuck in the chicken-and-egg situation. Right now phone makers need apps to get people to buy their phones. They also need lots of users to get developers to make those apps. And this morning the new boss, Thorsten Heins, says a new phone coming out later this year will be able to play Android apps.

But Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies says that’s just a work around for a pretty troubled company.

Roger Kay: It’s been going in the same direction for so long that it’s hard to imagine it turning on a dime and doing something completely different.

Collins: So far investors aren’t too thrilled either. Shares are down this morning.

Hill: Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins, thanks so much.

Collins: You’re welcome.

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