Struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. said Thursday that it will cede most consumer markets after failing to compete with flashier touch-screen phones such as Apple’s iPhone and models that run Google’s Android software.
Instead, RIM said it will return to its roots and focus on business customers, many of whom prefer BlackBerrys for their security. RIM has had limited success trying to enter consumer markets in recent years, and RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said a turnaround required “substantial change.”
“We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalize on our leading position in this segment,” Heins said. “We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody’s darling and all things to all people. Therefore, we plan to build on our strength.”
Also Thursday, RIM said former co-CEO Jim Balsillie has resigned from its board. David Yach, chief technology officer for software, and Jim Rowan, chief operating officer for global operations, also are leaving in a management shakeup.
The Canadian company long dominated the corporate smartphone market and has sought to expand its appeal to consumers, but it has had trouble with consumers because the phones aren’t perceived to be as sexy as its chief competitors.
BlackBerrys are known for their security and reliability as email devices, but they haven’t kept pace with iPhones or Android phones when it comes to running third-party applications.
For that reason, BlackBerrys are even losing ground in the business world, as employees demand iPhones or Android devices over BlackBerrys.
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