Thorsten Heins, the CEO of BlackBerry, has some carefully chosen but still harsh words about competitor Apple.
Speaking to an Australian business magazine, Heins said Apple was risking being left behind in the smartphone business because its flagship iPhone hadn’t been significantly redesigned in more than five years.
“Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market. ... They did a fantastic job with the user interface, they are a design icon,” Heins told the Australian Financial Review. “There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that.”
But “the rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don’t innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone — with all due respect for what this invention was all about — is now five years old.”
Heins would know a thing or two about “being replaced pretty quickly.” Faced with long delays developing its next-generation BlackBerry 10 platform, the company saw its global market share shrink to around 3 per cent last year, from a high of around 20 per cent in 2008.
With the release of the BlackBerry Z10 in January, analysts have brightened their outlook for the Waterloo, Ont.-based company, and BlackBerry shares have seen numerous price spikes on expectations of an earnings bump and rumours of a possible takeover.
But Heins isn’t the only one making noises about a lack of innovation at Apple. That was the sentiment echoed by former Apple CEO John Scully in a recent interview, when he described Apple as going through an “innovation lull.”
With earnings numbers no longer exceeding expectations, Apple recently saw its stock price hit the lowest level in a year.
But many tech bloggers argue it’s rich for the CEO of BlackBerry to be warning Apple about the dangers of not innovating.
The 9to5mac blog points out that BlackBerry’s $7.7-billion market valuation is lower than a single quarter of Apple earnings.
The BlackBerry Z10 has been out in Canada since February, and preliminary reports suggest it is selling well. Cellphone retailer WirelessWave reported the BlackBerry Z10 was the fastest-selling smartphone in its stores since the Feb. 5 launch. However, that is likely due to an initial rush of BlackBerry fans buying up the new phones.
The BlackBerry Z10 launches in the U.S. on Friday, March 22. Some wireless companies are already taking preorders.
Alicia Keys Is BlackBerry's Mercenary
At the BlackBerry 10 launch event, CEO Thorsten Heins introduced singer Alicia Keys as the company's new global creative director. Sure, Keys is a familiar and likable face to hawk your product -- but how has writing "Girl On Fire" prepared her for a creative director role? Adding to the awkward is that she's a <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5980200/blackberry-spokesperson-alicia-keys-tweets-from-her-iphone">prolific Twitter user from her iPhone</a> and Instagram's quite a bit, a program which isn't available on BlackBerry's new operating system yet. She claimed at the event that she'd been lured back into the BlackBerry fold by the new phones.
A Gimmicky Hair Cut, Less Cracking On CrackBerry.com
Kevin Michaluk, owner of the premier BlackBerry fansite and blog "CrackBerry" had promised to not cut his hair until the release of BlackBerry 10. Considering there were a <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/A-look-at-RIM-s-much-delayed-BlackBerry-10-4236058.php">few delays along the way</a>, Michaluk had a nice batch of lettuce going. Though a nice gesture of his dedication, the reaction in house was timid. <a href="http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/crackberry.com">Pageviews for Crackberry.com</a> have seen a steady dip.
Viral Marketing Fail
In an effort to build hype for the announcement of BlackBerry's new operating system and phones, the company released <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MiSzaWxRUSk" target="_hplink">this video</a> one day before the launch. The video involved a cable controlled jump with Alec Saunders, BlackBerry's VP of developer relations, and BlackBerry exec Marty Mallick. During the jump Mallick lets out a barely enthusiastic "BlackBerry 10 ruleeesssss!" The video only had 6,000 views prior to the launch event.
RIM Is Now.. BlackBerry! But Who Cares?
During the BlackBerry 10 launch event, it was revealed that Research In Motion or RIM, BlackBerry's creator, would be <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/rim-changing-name-to-blackberry_n_2581969.html?utm_hp_ref=technology">changing its name</a> to...BlackBerry. More than anything this seems to signal that the BlackBerry is all or nothing for what was formerly RIM -- they have nothing to fall back on.
Many Twitter users were quick to point out <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=blackberry%20palm&src=typd">the launch of BlackBerry 10 to another doomed launch</a>, that of the the Palm Pre for Palm. The company announced the new phone and OS in January 2009, only to be <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2010/04/28/technology/hp_palm/index.htm">scooped up by Hewlett Packard in April 2010</a>.