RIM could license out BlackBerry 10, says CEO

By Sooraj Shah
21 Jan 2013 View Comments
BlackBerry 10 at BlackBerry Jam Americas 2012

Canadian firm Research In Motion (RIM) could license out its upcoming BlackBerry 10 (BB10) operating system to another manufacturer, the company's CEO, Thorsten Heins, has said.

In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, Heins said that RIM could license BB10 to other operators if its operating system proves a success on its own smartphones.

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"Before you can license the software, you must show that the platform has huge potential. First we have to fulfil our promises. If we can prove it, then licensing is conceivable," he said.

Investors have demonstrated their faith in the forthcoming operating system and the firm's new range of smartphones, both of which are due at the end of this month, with shares rising steadily since the autumn, from Canadian $6.16 on 24 September 2012 to Canadian $17.04 (£10.74) on the Toronto Stock Exchange at the time of writing.

But it remains to be seen how the possibility of RIM licensing out its operating system will play with the investors. One of RIM's traditional strengths has been the tight integration between its hardware and operating system. This, along with the intrinsic security of the messaging system, is what led its BlackBerry smartphones to be so well received by enterprise users and consumers alike when they first launched.

If RIM were to license BB10, it could prove detrimental to its own smartphone sales, although of course this would be offset by the licensing income. 

Another issue for the Canadian company would be to find a viable partner, with the main smartphone vendors - Samsung and Apple - already wedded to Android and iOS, respectively, and Nokia committed to Windows Phone 8.

Computing got an up-close view of BB10 in November. As we reported, the operating system is firmly focused on the enterprise and the rising trend of bring your own device (BYOD) with, for example, a profiling feature that enables business executives to run both their business and their personal life from the same device.

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