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Updated: BlackBerry maker RIM won’t quit consumer market

BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion has denied it is exiting the consumer market to concentrate on its business customers, despite losses in the last quarter.

RIM announced a net loss of $125m (£78m) for the first three months of 2012, compared with a profit of $934m (£585m) in the same period a year earlier.

The decline comes as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices continue to dominate market share in the consumer space, where RIM only has around a five per cent foothold.

Comment made by RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins appeared to point to a change in policy, with the company shifting focus back to its business clients.

“We can’t do everything ourselves, but we can do what we’re good at,” said, indicating that the company will return to the corporate business that made it a household name.

“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.”

However, following reports on Pocket-Lint we got in touch with RIM, where a spokesperson said the remarks had been “horribly misconstrued”. 

“The claim that RIM has said it will withdraw from the consumer market is wholly misleading,” added Patrick Spence, SVP & Managing Director, Global Sales & Regional Marketing.

“Whilst we announced plans to re-focus our efforts on our core strengths, and on our enterprise customer base, we were very explicit that we will continue to build on our strengths to go after targeted consumer segments. We listed BBM, as well as the security and manageability of our platform, amongst our strengths.” 

During an earnings conference call, Heins also suggested that the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system may be licensed out to other smartphone manufacturers.

“Whether we build the hardware ourselves or whether we engage in partnerships is part of the review, we’ll keep you updated once that is completed,” he said.

A prototype of the much delayed OS is expected to be released in May.

Other comments made by Heins could also be interpreted as a ‘come and get us’ plea, suggesting that the Canadian company may be looking for a buyer.

Heins admitted he was open to selling Research In Motion, but added “it is not the main direction we are pursuing right now.”  

This article has been updated following RIM’s clarification of its comments


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