A few weeks ago, we learned that RIM was openly considering licensing its upcoming BlackBerry 10 software to hardware manufacturers keen on releasing a BlackBerry device. No decision was made at that time, and such a move would be a marked departure from RIM’s historic business model, which saw the company acting as both the hardware and software manufacturer. According to a report from Bloomberg, RIM has fully embraced licensing as a new business strategy, and is ready to begin searching for interested parties as development for BlackBerry 10 enters its final stages.
The company is currently considering how it can sell BlackBerry 10 to manufacturers, and will likely focus its efforts on the benefits of QNX, a platform used in cars, nuclear plants, and sales/distribution channels. BlackBerry’s messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger, and its enterprise software will also be key avenues through which RIM focuses its efforts on bringing in licensees.
Samsung has long been rumored as potentially being interested in BlackBerry 10, though the company has recently suggested it might not be so keen on a RIM partnership. We outlined other potential interested parties a few weeks back, and our short list included Huawei, LG, and even perennial Android favorite HTC. All of these are long-shots, however, as RIM’s popularity and market share have plummeted in recent years.
Outlook for the company has been bleak, as most experts project RIM falling to 4th place in the smartphone OS market share race. Android and iOS currently have a commanding lead, and Windows Phone 8 is the favorite to emerge as the true third alternative to these market-leading juggernauts. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins suggested that the company is not content on fighting for the number three spot, and that RIM is back in it to win it.
“We’re here to win. We’re not here to fight for third or fourth place.” - Thorsten Heins, CEO, Research in Motion
Of course, RIM’s strategy centers around getting manufacturers to build BlackBerry 10 devices, and if current consumer sentiment is any indication, it may be a tough road ahead for the ailing Waterloo-based handset maker.