ORLANDO – When Thorsten Heins takes the podium here Tuesday morning to deliver his first speech to BlackBerry World as CEO of troubled Research In Motion, he’ll already be behind the eight-ball for Marcus Heinrich.
It only took one day.
Heinrich, a senior consultant at solution provider Agilimo Ltd. of Munich, Germany, flew across the Atlantic to hear what the company’s strategy will be for reversing falling sales and revenue.
But at a pre-conference closed door session Monday for partners, who had to sign non-disclosure agreements, Heinrich was at a loss to hear any substance.
“I was in five sessions today,” he said during a social hour, “and every one was poor.”
“I came here with the hope to get the information we need,” he said.
Instead, he had the impression RIM “is no longer focused on business.”
Only three per cent of the paid applications in BlackBerry App World are business apps, he said he was told. The biggest number – 44 per cent – are gaming apps, followed by social media (15 per cent) and themes (12 per cent).
In particular he was distressed to have confirmed reports that organizations running devices using upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system can’t be managed on their existing BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) infrastructure. Instead, they’ll have to buy licences for BlackBerry Device Server at a cost of 50 euros a device. Only then can legacy BlackBerrys and BB10 devices be managed under the new Mobile Fusion dashboard.
“I don’t know why they did this,” Heinrich said.
For a client with of his with 12,000 BlackBerrys, the cost of converting staff to the yet-to-be released BB10 devices could be 50,000 euros, he said.
The organization already has infrastructure to support Apple Inc.’s iPhones, he said, and it won’t cost a penny to have its staff drop BlackBerrys.
This is not how RIM hopes this conference will start.
However, Heins is in a corner: He has already said BB10 won’t be released until later this year – one unconfirmed report has it coming out in October – seemingly leaving little new to be announced here.
Heins told financial analysts in March that RIM will focus on the enterprise.
Others were more optimistic than Heinrich.
Issac Alexander, chief software architect of Victoria, B.C.-based Procura, which develops software home health care support workers use to record their activities and the progress of patients liked what he’d heard so far.
“I think their going in the right direction,” he said. “But,” he asked, “can they keep people happy enough until the new devices come out?”
“I keep saying this is their last shot.”