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Web 2 Conversation: RIM's Jim Balsillie

By - October 28, 2010

jim_balsillie.jpgContinuing my tour of selected speakers at Web 2 this year, I alight upon RIM’s Jim Balsillie, the man responsible for guiding the Blackberry brand through the Skylla of Apple and Kharybdis of Android – or is that the other way ’round?

In any case, RIM has long been the king of enterprise smart phones, but that grip is arguably slipping. However, a suite of new products and an invigorated approach to developers is showing promise. Also eagerly anticipated: The Playbook, RIM’s first tablet product.

Balsille hasn’t been shy when it comes to Apple, he was recently quoted thusly: “We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple.”

Yep, I’m looking foward to speaking with Jim next month! What would you like to ask him? While you are at it, click on over to my posts for DST’s Yuri Milner, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Baidu’s Robin Li, Yahoo’s Carol Bartz and Google’s Eric Schmidt and add your thoughts there as well.

Here are a few thought starters for Balsille:

– What are your expectations for the Playbook? Can or will it cross over from business to consumer?

– RIM is behind when it comes to the developer support, at least perceptually. What are you doing to address that? Do you have a different strategy from Apple and Google?

– Related, what is RIM’s advertising strategy? You currently work with a number of networks, but is there a larger play coming?

– What do you make of Apple?

– Of Android, and HP/Palm? Windows 7?

– Would you ever make an Android-friendly Blackberry?

– What features do you wish RIM had now that we might anticipate?

– Blackberries are often called “the phones you get if you have to have a keyboard.” They are also seen as mainly enterprise phones. Is that fair?

– RIM has been the subject of takeover speculation – do you see that as a distraction?

– Do you see the carrier world shifting in any way?

Leave your questions in comments, and hope to see you at Web 2 this year!

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7 thoughts on “Web 2 Conversation: RIM's Jim Balsillie

  1. Rayw says:

    re your RIM interview

    not sure if you caught this – but Michael Mace’s post should evoke plenty of potential questions…

  2. John says:

    Thanks Rayw very interesting read.

  3. I understand RIM see limitations in smartphones on battery life and heat generated so think tablets are the future.
    So are they going to run new phones on their Tablet OS or will they run an OS7?
    Or do RIM think it’s a perfect solution suggesting we develop in 4.5 so we can reach 83% of their smartphones?

  4. Charbax says:

    Yes, basically ask: why wouldn’t they take the whole Android stack and app system and put their secure messaging system on top of that?

  5. Peacedawg says:


    – what will prompt developers to develop for the Playbook? After all you can’t even settle on one OS – 6.0 or QNX?

    – Blackberry is doing well internationally as a value smart-phone is countries where browsing and data charges are at a premium? Why not concede the high end and focus on the lower end and become the Nokia of smartphones.

    – Why did it take this long to figure out the app play on smartphones? Why did you underspec the Torch? And in the same vein, why overspec the Playbook?

  6. Jordan says:

    I must have been one of the last people on earth to get a smartphone. I am pretty impressed with my BB Bold. Surprisingly, RIM is not stuck in their ways and are quite nimble when it comes to developing new products. Thee Torch looks like it is going to fly and the Playbook looks like it can out perform the Ipad. What I really want to know is when he gets his NHL team, why not just put it in Kitchener-Waterloo?

  7. chat says:

    thankss very good artcle