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RIM CEO Says Company 'Seriously' Considered Switch To Android 283

zacharye writes "RIM CEO Thorsten Heins's interview with the Telegraph on Thursday made headlines for his admission that the company can't keep up with Apple and Samsung without outside help. But there's another interesting nugget buried within the interview that didn't get quite as much attention: Heins says that RIM took a long, hard look at migrating to Android before deciding to plow forward with BlackBerry 10. Heins said, 'We took the conscious decision not to go Android. If you look at other suppliers’ ability to differentiate, there’s very little wiggle room. We looked at it seriously — but if you understand what the promise of BlackBerry is to its user base: it’s all about getting stuff done. Games, media, we have to be good at it, but we have to support those guys who are ahead of the game. Very little time to consume and enjoy content — if you stay true to that purpose you have to build on that basis. And if we want to serve that segment we can’t do it on a me-too approach.'"
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RIM CEO Says Company 'Seriously' Considered Switch To Android

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  • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:11PM (#40870793)

    Nope, the decision was made solely in IT by the desktop/device/network arch staff.

  • The BB10 OS is already capable of running Android apps, as evidenced by the fact that the Playbook can already do so. Out of the box, though, the only Android apps that will run are ones that have been "ported" and show up in their marketplace.

    It is possible, however, by rooting the Playbook, to open it up to full GAPPS capability, including the Google Play Store. RIMM needs to do this for BB10...and then they need to promote the hell out of this capability, saying, "BlackBerry runs all your favorite Android apps...and runs them better!" (Which is true; the QNX kernel of BB10 is far more efficient in an embedded environment than Android's Linux kernel is. This translates into increased battery life.) Karl Denninger has argued [market-ticker.org] that this is the only way for RIMM to avoid complete irrelevance in the marketplace...and the company's performance since he wrote that piece in March seems to bear that out.

    They could go further, too. One enterprising hacker has gotten (some) unmodified iOS apps to run on the Playbook [crackberry.com]. And it's perfectly legal, because the developer has just created his own implementations of relevant Apple APIs, and, under the ruling in Oracle v. Google, APIs are not copyrightable and Apple can't stop him. RIMM should acquire or license this technology and extend it to work with more iOS apps, and promote the hell out of this capability, too. Imagine being able to run virtually any popular smart phone app on one phone...with better battery life than either Android phones or the iPhone. (QNX beats the iOS Darwin kernel for efficiency, too.)

    If RIMM does these two things, they could go from zero to hero in one fell swoop. If they fail to do either one...well, next stop is probably a bankruptcy court.

  • by alphax45 ( 675119 ) <kyle.alfred@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:31PM (#40871061)
    RIM can give away the BIS (Blackberry Internet Service - used by a non-corporate person in most cases) keys because those servers are operated by the carriers. BESs (Blackberry Enterprise Servers) are owned/operated by a company and RIM does NOT ever have the keys to give away. So the corporate customers using a BES are safe from the governments that have been the keys, Joe Blow on the street is not.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:38PM (#40871149)

    it's all GPL so you can use as much or as little of it as you want

    You're a little off there. The kernel and other Linux bits are GPL. The Android stuff is under the Apache license [wikipedia.org].

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @02:47PM (#40871253)

    Bull. The very fact that RIM CAN give away the keys to governments (or whoever they like) means their security wasn't very good.

    You don't know what you are talking about.

    They gave away the keys to BIS. That's the service they HOST THEMSELVES used mostly by individuals and small companies who don't want to host their own server. Of course they have the keys for it.

    BES (blackberry enterprise server) is the enterprise service. Enterprises run their own BES on their own hardware under their own control. RIM doesn't touch it. RIM hasn't (and can't) give away the BES keys because the enterprise has them not RIM.

    But complaining about RIM having the keys to BIS is as foolish as complaining google has access to the encryption keys to https://www.gmail.com/ [gmail.com]

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @03:01PM (#40871411)

    You mean like people who buy or hold RIM stock? (https://www.google.ca/finance?q=TSE%3ARIM) that's down what, 75% in 12 months. The people who turfed out the founders and CEO?

    The new CEO who's pleading for time with investors? Or the same CEO who realizing how much trouble they are in has had to come out and explain why they didn't go the most obvious route to try and make money? (I will point out that the RIM founders had a completely different plan, that would have moved RIM almost entirely into the infrastructure side of the business and exited the consumer products section).

    gorwing cash horde.

    I think you mean shrinking. As of their Q1 2013 filing (which was just over a month ago) their GAAP was a 520 million dollar loss. Momentum in spite of the iphone got them to 6 months ago. And suddenly they've started to hit a brick wall. Nokia is in essentially the same boat, they had momentum in the sales channel, but no one actually wanted the new product (BB9 or WP7) so when they ran out of stuff people did want they basically hit a fiscal cliff.

    Importantly, the difference between RIM and Nokia is that Nokia *might* have a product people will want to buy 12 months from now, and can plead for cash from microsoft. RIM has nothing that people want, and no one to beg for money from.

  • by PNutts ( 199112 ) on Friday August 03, 2012 @04:06PM (#40872179)

    I hate to post this again but I feel obliged to correct misinformation. The Apple Configurator implements security policies and restricts features and apps. No server required.

  • by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <slashdot@@@nexusuk...org> on Friday August 03, 2012 @04:32PM (#40872503) Homepage

    I believe it. iOS might not be the best, but it's pretty good when you just want to get business done.

    iOS devices are one of the most problematic devices that we have to support. These are some of the problems we have had with them:

    1. The web proxy server settings are all centralised on the device, which is a really good design. Unfortunately, many (most?) iOS apps seem to ignore them.
    2. Many apps don't support authenticated web proxies.
    3. Of the apps that do support authenticated web proxies, most of them do their own authentication (i.e. you open the browser and get asked to authenticate and can then browse without any more problems... but then you go to another app and have to auth again because the browser and the other app don't share the same authentication credential store. Then you open another app and have to auth *again*.
    4. The iCloud stuff can't handle HTTP errors it didn't expect. If the iOS device tries to contact the iCloud servers and the web proxy returns a 407 (not authorised), the device just blindly tries again immediately (without supplying any authentication credentials). On networks where our customers have decided to severely restrict internet access (we supply systems to schools, who often put up very restrictive controls on their internet connections at certain times of the day), we frequently see the iOS devices hammering away at the proxy with repeated attempts to contact Apple's servers; we're talking hundreds of requests per second for hours on end - the batteries on these dumb devices can't last long with that kind of behaviour.

    Notably, Apple seems to have a general habit of many of these things - much of their OS X software also has terrible support for authenticated web proxies, and iChat has a well known bug similar to (4) that results in it fighting with remote XMPP clients if they return a (legal) response it doesn't like - I tend to see constant network traffic totalling about 3Kbps per paid of fighting clients, and they do it even when not in a conversation.

    Some models are good, some aren't.

    Well, what is "good" often depends on what use you want to put it to. I can point at a lot of devices (running any of the OSes), which I regard as "not good", whilst other people will regard them as "good" because they happen to fit with their usage best. This is the benefit of choice, and is something you don't get with the iOS devices.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings