RIM May Be Forced to License Out BlackBerry 10

Thorsten Heins admits what we’ve all thought: RIM may be forced to license out BlackBerry 10.

Not long ago I started a similar RIM-focused article saying simply: “Oh RIM”.  This time around, I am going to take a similar approach and say very sarcastically, “Oh Thorsten”.

You see, the embattled RIM CEO has had a tough time maintaining a clear confident poise when it comes to talking about the future of his ship. Granted, he took over a job that would have anyone doing 3-a-day yoga sessions, but he knew what he was getting into. In a recent interview with the UK-based Telegraph Newspaper, Thorsten was caught saying something about BB10 licensing that caught many off guard: 

“We don’t have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year. We have to differentiate and have a focused platform. To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than I can do it. There are different options we could do that we’re currently investigating.” 

So RIM may be forced to license out BlackBerry 10 – how shocking.

Without stating the obvious, RIM is not the giant it used to be (think back to 2008). Its share price is sitting under $7 right now, which means the company’s market cap is a little over $3.5 billion. If licensing BB10 is the best course of action for the company, they have my support, but which OEM will choose them over a more polished Android OS? 

Mr. Heins went on to say:

“You could think about us building a reference system, and then basically licensing that reference design, have others build the hardware around it – either it’s a BlackBerry or it’s something else being built on the BlackBerry platform. We’re investigating this and it’s way too early to get into any details.” 

Imagine a white-labelled BlackBerry 10 software, running on a future HTC phone. Using the forthcoming cascade feature on a gorgeous 4.3-inch screen would be divine. Or, better yet, taking advantage of the screen size for a BBM conversation. You never know. Hopefully RIM will be open to the potential licensee making changes to the software, offering a “best of both worlds” kind of thing.  Only time will tell if this even pans out – but it would be pretty awesome to see.

As with all rumors of the future OS, whether they prove legitimate or not, everything is on the line for January 2013. So stay tuned.

What are your thoughts on seeing BlackBerry 10 on a different phone? Would you use it or be opposed?