Feature Article

Free eNews Subscription>>
May 01, 2013

BlackBerry's CEO is at it Again! Proclaims Tablets will be Dead in Five Years

Back on March 22, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins proclaimed the, “iPhone is just kind of sitting there.” While we chose to be amused by the statement it was of course both a silly thing to say while at the same time something we couldn’t really take Heins to task for. BlackBerry had been living in the theater of the absurd for so long that we thought it was good of Heins to perhaps say such a thing perhaps a little tongue in cheek. We hope he was poking just a little bit of fun at himself in saying it, but even if he wasn’t, well…

But now he’s back making more proclamations. This time he notes that he believes the tablet will be dead and gone in five years time. Perhaps he’s basing it on the fact that the BlackBerry PlayBook died in far less time than five years, but we really don’t want to see the so far normally level-headed Heins suddenly begin to veer off in too weird of a direction. It isn’t good for a CEO to suddenly become delusional.

Or perhaps he isn’t delusional and is simply setting the stage to announce that BlackBerry is exiting the tablet market. Heins put it this way: “In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore. Maybe a big screen in your workspace but not a tablet, as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.” By all means, do away with the PlayBook. At one point the old Research in Motion had to take nearly a $500 million charge to write down its unsold PlayBook inventory – from that perspective it is definitely not a good business model…for BlackBerry.

Back during the January 30, 2013 Z10 and BlackBerry 10 OS launch (and in truth long before the launch as well), Heins has been outspoken about his concern that BlackBerry only delivers the absolutely best mobile enterprise solutions and experiences possible.  As part of that, he has also noted that he would consider a PlayBook successor only if it would be able to deliver a unique and valuable enterprise proposition in a crowded market. Clearly he is suggesting that there will be no PlayBook successor. There is no other way to really read this.

In any case, we’re not thinking that Samsung or Apple are quaking in their boots. Samsung of course is providing every possible size of tablet and smartphone between 4 and 11 inches – let the user decide what they want. Apple’s tablet market share is getting smaller (which is not something to criticize – it is simply business reality that no tech company is going to have overwhelming ownership forever) and yet iPads still account for at least 80 percent of all wireless Internet traffic. People love their iPads, and their tablets more, generally speaking. Tablets are going to be huge – we’re merely at the beginning of the overall market for them.

We’ll see what BlackBerry ultimately does. In the near term we have the “old school” Q10 with it’s built in real keyboard to look forward to. We certainly anticipate that the Q10 will sell well – there are a great many BlackBerry users (tens of millions of them) who are eagerly anticipating a modern day replacement for their old hardware. It will be more than enough of a sell through to keep BlackBerry afloat.

But it won’t make BlackBerry a leader again. Heins no doubt knows and understands this, and he especially knows that he has to ensure that BlackBerry remains laser focused on what it can indeed sell in large numbers. A tablet isn’t one of those things. Not for BlackBerry at any rate.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

FOLLOW MobilityTechzone

Subscribe to MobilityTechzone eNews

MobilityTechzone eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the Wireless industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter