RIM CEO on App Ecosystems: Size Isn’t Everything
As impressive as Research In Motion claims BlackBerry 10 to be, when the company finally ships the next-generation operating system next year, it will arrive at market with at least one inescapable deficit: An app ecosystem far smaller than that of rivals Apple and Google. But according to RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, that’s not as big a deal as it might seem.
Apps aren’t numbers game — though Apple and Google often portray them that way. It’s clear there’s a lot of chaff in the mobile app ecosystem wheat, and RIM feels BB10 can go head-to-head with Android and iOS as long as it has quality apps that satisfy key consumer needs.
“The tactic we are deploying is by country and by region,” Heins told Reuters. “We are aiming to have the most important 200 to 400 apps available.”
Not a bad strategy, given the company’s current position. And realistically, what else can it do? There’s no way it can match the number of apps Apple and Google are able to offer their users. But if it can offer enough quality apps to fulfill key smartphone use cases, the size of the BlackBerry 10 app ecosystem may not matter.
“In my view it is really short-sighted to say, you have 600,000, you have 400,000 and you only have 100,000 apps, so you are not good,” he said. “Look at how many actually get downloaded. … We don’t have 1,500 Solitaire apps. That is not what BlackBerry is about.”