Q: In your opinion, how significant have product delays been to RIM's current situation in the market? Why have we seen so many product delays from RIM during the past few years?
A: Part of it actually goes back to your last question. We are a very innovative company, we were and we are. What sometimes happens is, you get so excited about innovations that you push them into existing development projects. And what I've learned in my discipline, in my 25 years in R&D and in telecom, once you have decided on a project, you must keep it stable. With our eagerness to be extremely innovative, we had the tendency to put new stuff into existing project programs, and that is not a recipe to deliver on time and on quality.
We're dramatically changing this with BlackBerry 10. We'll continue to innovate, but we have a clear understand of what BlackBerry 10 is all about. And we keep that program very, very focused.
(RIM has delayed the launch of BlackBerry 10 numerous times. Most recently, it announced that the first BlackBerry 10 device won't arrive until early 2013. It had previously stated BlackBerry 10 would launch in 2012.)
The delay of BlackBerry 10 is not because we added stuff to it. The delay is because our software groups were actually so successful in coding the various feature components and building blocks that when we put them into the main "trunk line," as we call it, when we wanted to build the first main release, we got overwhelmed by integration efforts. I had to make a decision. I could actually have kept the schedule, if I had made a sacrifice on quality and on platform stability. And I decided not to do that, because I need to make sure that when we deliver a BlackBerry, it is best quality.
Am I disappointed that we had to shift it into the first quarter? Yes, I am. But the point is, it was a decision between: Rush it out again, and then fix the quality stuff later; or bring it out with high quality. What I commit to the public out there is that when we ship BlackBerry 10, we will do it at high quality. That was the decision I made.
Q: I read your recent editorial in the Globe and Mail, and I thought it was well written. But I do have some questions about a few statements you made. In the editorial, you noted that RIM is seeing increasing subscriber numbers in many different counties outside of North America. However, when you look at the big picture, the market share numbers are troubling. For example, recent global mobile OS market numbers from IDC, suggest RIM's overall share of the OS market is steadily decreasing, with RIM holding just 6 or 7 percent of the market today. Meanwhile, Android (59 percent of the market) and iOS (23 percent) continue to grow steadily. So, while RIM may be growing in some geographic areas, it is losing ground overall, and that appears to be related to what's happening in North America. Can RIM succeed without capturing a larger part of the North American market? Would RIM be content with continued success in smaller markets?
A: We are North American, we're a Canadian company, and we want to win in our home market. That's why we are building BlackBerry 10, so we have a platform and product that actually can compete in the North American market and so we can win market share back. And we will do it.