Thursday, September 16, 2010

Balsillie: Unplugged on How RIMM will Stay Competitive

Thanks to Dan Frommer of Business Insider for presumably transcribing this from tonight's $RIMM call.

Here's Jim Balsillie's answer to RBC's Mike Abramsky's question about how RIMM will stay competitive with Apple and Google:

There's such an interesting dynamic going on in the market because first of all, when you talk about platform and design and future aspects, I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised at DevCon in a week Monday. I can't really give you too much here but I think you're going to be really interested there. More aspects of the design philosophy are going to come out there.

I think in terms of what BlackBerry does, you know, it still has a tremendous number of attributes that really serve the market in the way that we align it for the service and for the carrier and for the segment that it's supposed to address. And I think it's dangerous to frame all this in a high-end arms race. And I think you're going to see our capacity to go beyond what could have been expected by anyone and yet still address the issues of cost effectiveness, security, efficiency, and desired form factors.

Our specialty's been in resolving a paradox, and if you don't innovate to resolve that paradox… You know, robbing Peter to pay Paul isn't really a solution because you're just shifting strategies. The feature phones upgrading to a smartphone, I think our guidance just shows what's happening. And if you saw the roadmap and you saw the engagement strategies you would see that we are being very prudent in our approaches.

But this is a really promising space, and we can address lots of segments. And we can still respect carrier alignment and efficiency, and different price points.

But, I think you're going to see the ability to, I don't know how to say it better, than other than "resolve the paradox." Because if you make these things so high-end that they're not addressable to the market, or they're so consumptive of the networks they can't scale, that's not what we originally designed our business for.

And what we've done is innovate to really avail the capability but still not sell out our lineage, and that's the paradox that we're resolving. But be careful that just because you don't jump to Peter and abandon Paul, to sort of carry on with that sort of approach, that we don't have an answer. We're trying to innovate, forward our business, not be strategically erratic.

The core BlackBerry aspects are well defended and looked after and protected. But it's in a space where people have mushrooming expectations of what these things can do. And that's the essence of the paradox. And all I can say is it won't take long before you see how we've done that. And I think Torch and BlackBerry 6 is really an excellent step forward.

The promo campaigns are just really starting. But that's why you've seen the jump in guidance… and the subs is that. I hope I answered your question. It's hard for me to answer it too directly without sort-of violating confidential roadmap stuff.

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