He spoke for several minutes in response to a question from Rod Hall of JP Morgan, who basically asked how RIM is going to stay competitive with Apple and Google.
Basically, RIM thinks it’s “way ahead” of Apple in some areas, especially with the PlayBook tablet that’s coming out next year. (We’ll see.)
And it sounds like he thinks Apple’s and Google’s forays into the living room are risky. (Which is valid.)
Here’s how Hall introduced his question:
I think what you need to do to get people to believe that RIM has a future is to somehow get out ahead of what’s going on out there in the market. And, if I wonder, Jim, if you could talk a little about next steps.
The PlayBook [tablet] is kind of a me-too device, because there are already products out there. You’re playing catch-up a little bit on the touch interface. We see Apple and Google now headed for the connected home, both of them going for TV plays and other things in the home so you can push this content around the house.
I wonder if you could comment a little bit about what you’re thinking there and other ways you can extend the platform to maybe start getting people focused a little bit further out than just the next quarter.
And here’s Balsillie’s response, which we’ve transcribed:
I think the PlayBook redefines what a tablet should do. I think we’ve articulated some elements of it, and I think this idea of a proprietary SDK and unnecessary apps — though there’s a huge role for apps — I think is going to shift in the market, and I think it’s going to shift very, very quickly. And I think there’s going to be a strong appetite for web fidelity and tool familiarity. And I think there’s going to be a rapid desire for high performance. And I think we’re way ahead on that. And I think CIO friendliness, we’re way ahead on that.
Now, how do you align or go over the top on carriers and content providers? Well, we have different strategies, and that’s fine, and there may be room for more than one model, who knows. And, you know, it’s a very dynamic market. Plus, there’s enormous growth and shifts happening around the world, you know.
How many fronts people want to take on contention, that’s a question you can ask. Do you want to go over the top of banks, do you want to go over the top on content, do you want to go over the top on carriers, do you want to go over the top on video content providers? I mean, who knows, you know? What part of it’s good strategy and what part of it’s a bridge too far? I mean, who knows?
The truth of it is, you really want a lot of it on your smartphone, and you really want a lot of it, we believe, on a tablet. And you fit with your content providers — who are really changing their strategies for mobility, because they want a sustained model — carriers are aggressively trying to change their models, banks are getting involved.
So, I think the PlayBook clearly sets the bar WAY higher on performance, and you’re going to see more. I think the enterprise stuff, we’re seriously extending. I think the BlackBerry is still number one in social collaboration. And I think with the PlayBook and that environment we’re going to set the new standard on performance and tools, very powerful tools. And we’re growing very very fast. So, that’s a lot.
Connected home? I think there’s ways to seamlessly extend what’s going on in the home, and you’re going to see a lot of how we’re doing that, rather than going over the top. But, you know, it may be a prerogative.
But you’re going into some pretty serious plays when you go in the connected home too hard. You have to pay attention to the fact: What’s the role of the satellite company or the cable company in that? The content vendors get fed paying through them. And also, how do you insert ads very well with these content vendors?
There’s a lot of moving parts, but I think we’re just well ahead on the PlayBook, well ahead internationally, and extending very very well. And so, people can have their views on sentiment, but when is it a good entry strategy, and when is it a bridge too far? Who knows? We have turbulent ecosystem right now. How do you work with banks, how do you work with carriers, how do you work with content, how do you work with enterprise ecosystem?
And I think these business models are highly shifting, and if people think there’s just a straight-ahead shot for everybody, and it’s all just predictably extended the way it’s going now, I think that’s a highly questionable assumption. These business models are highly in flux.
Related: 10 HUGE Questions About The iPad 2
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