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RIM considers licensing out BlackBerry 10 operating system

CEO Thorsten Heins wants to show that the platform has potential first

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BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) is considering licensing out its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 software to other smartphone makers, according to reports in the German press.

RIM's chief executive Thorsten Heins said it is “conceivable” that RIM will make BlackBerry 10 available to other manufacturers – as Microsoft does with its Windows Phone operating system – but only once the company has shown that the platform has potential.

In an interview with German paper Die Welt, Heins explained that the company is exploring various possibilities as it attempts to fight back against the rise of Android and Apple handsets.

“We have taken the time to build a platform that is future-proof for the next ten years,” said Heins. “Our focus is not only on smartphones, but also on its use, for example, in cars that will become increasingly networked. We see completely new areas of growth with BlackBerry 10.”

He added that it is not simply the selection of devices that is important, but also the quality of apps available for the platform, pointing out that only 50 percent of Android applications have been downloaded at least once. He said that RIM has been making a “special effort” in this area.

Indeed, the company's Portathon event earlier this month, which offered app developers incentives to port their apps to the BlackBerry 10 platform, attracted 15,000 app submissions.

However, a report from IDC before Christmas suggested that BlackBerry's market share will remain stable (around 4.5 percent) over the coming years, and that the success of BlackBerry 10 will be dependent upon channel advocates, like sales associates, who can effectively tell the BlackBerry story.

BlackBerry 10 will launch on January 30 along with RIM's first two smartphones based on its new mobile operating system.


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