However if Heins' assumptions about the future of the market are to be taken 100 per cent at face value, then the smartphone war is largely irrelevant in the long term ... a mere skirmish in the bigger battle.
By giving away BBM, BlackBerry is handing one of its big drawcards to its smartphone enemies for nothing. Heins reasons that this greater exposure of more users to BBM will both make its platform more relevant and maybe encourage users to come back to future BlackBerry devices.
CONFIDENT OR DESPERATE?
It is much easier to give credence to the first goal than the second, but regardless it is a commendable demonstration of Heins' conviction.
The BBM move is either an expression of huge confidence in his longer term strategy, or desperation to regain some relevance in the near term. BlackBerry's loyal investors, will be banking on the former, while analysts will largely continue to mark the company based on the latter.
Either way, at the very least Heins has made BlackBerry into an interesting forward-looking proposition once more, after a number of years bobbing about in the ocean as the smartphone ship sailed off into the distance.
Aside from a pleasing (for journalists) willingness to engage in good old fashioned sledging of his rivals like Apple, he seems to be instilling, at least some, sense of direction.
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