BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins: Maybe Not A Patsy After All

first_imgThe Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Thorsten Heins was supposed to be the steward that oversaw the final collapse of one of the great technology companies of the last 30 years. When Heins took over Research In Motion in early 2012, not many people gave him a lot of hope. “Thorsten Heins Is A Patsy Set Up To Fail” was my take here on ReadWrite.At the time, Research In Motion (now BlackBerry) was grasping for straws. It had just reported half a billion dollars in quarterly, losses and co-founders and co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were getting ousted by the RIM board — a panel they ostensibly controlled for more than a decade. At the time, Heins was seen as a front guy while Balsillie and Lazaridis pulled his strings from behind the curtain. Heins was supposed to be Norville Barnes. So long, Mike Lazaridis Heins Comes Into His OwnFast forward to today. BlackBerry has a new name, a new series of good smartphones in its BlackBerry Z10 and coming Q10 devices and a streamlined and more efficient business that has renewed focus on services and applications. In its latest quarterly earnings report, BlackBerry announced $94 million in profit and said it sold a million BlackBerry Z10 devices in a little over a month, with strong channel sales likely to come. “Our financial transformation over the past 12 months has been outstanding,” Heins said on the company’s earnings call. “To say that it was a very challenging environment to deliver improved financial results could well be the understatement of the year. In the face of numerous challenges this past year, BlackBerry has gone from a significant operating loss in the first quarter of the year to an operating profit in the fourth quarter.”Heins, who is prone to over enthusiasm and exaggeration, wasn’t lying. The company swung to profit from a GAAP loss of $518 million and an operating loss of $118 million. In that time, BlackBerry’s liquid cash hoard rose from $2.1 billion to $2.9 billion despite losing market share to the like of Android and Apple.Balsillie is gone. Lazaridis is retiring at the beginning of May. It appears that Heins has taken hold of BlackBerry and made it his without the puppeteers manipulating from the background.Remaking BlackBerry In His Own Image“Thorsten has been doing a good job at the helm, in my opinion. He got the devices to market (although a bit later than expected),” mobile analyst Jack Gold, principal at J. Gold Associates, wrote me in an email. “He’s effectively managing the bottom line (still not done but he’s on his way), and he’s made a number of management changes. The restructuring isn’t totally done yet, but he does seem to be remaking BB in his image of what it needs to be.”Heins & Alicia Keys at BlackBerry 10 LaunchBlackBerry and Heins had a baptism by fire in 2012. The new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system was delayed. Then it was delayed again. BlackBerry completely missed the holiday shopping season, eventually launching its new devices on Jan. 30. at an event in New York City. Between the time that Heins took over and the launch of BlackBerry 10, the company was forced to lay off thousands of workers. It got so bad that BlackBerry hired powerful Wall Street groups J.P Morgan and RBC Capital to perform a strategic review, something that pointed to a potential sale of the company.Instead of a sale, it seems that the strategic review has led to a leaner, meaner BlackBerry. The company saw a billion dollars in savings from operating income a year before it expected to. That has led to profitability, even though BlackBerry technically lost 3 million subscribers (from 79 million to 76 million) in the most recent quarter. Just The BeginningBlackBerry is not done though. Heins called the profitable quarter and launch of BlackBerry 10 just the beginning. It has yet to launch the BlackBerry Q10, which like BlackBerrys of old features a physical keyboard, though it has been testing the device on 40 carriers in 20 countries. In 2013, more BlackBerry 10 devices will be released at lower price points to take advantage of emerging markets where BlackBerry plays particularly well, like the Middle East and Africa. BlackBerry Z10“Everyone at BlackBerry understands that there is more work to do. Delivering BlackBerry 10 and a profitable quarter is just the starting line, not the finish line,” Heins said.Through it all, Heins comes out looking like a hero. Instead of a patsy, he has superseded both Balsillie and Lazaridis and given the BlackBerry tangible hope for a profitable future. It may only be the beginning, but Heins’s first year of hardship is over. “Of course, the next two-to-four quarters will give us a better understanding of how successful he’s been, but so far I give him a pretty good grade,” Gold said.Lazaridis photo courtesy of Wikipedia  Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement dan rowinski What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#BlackBerry#BlackBerry 10#mobile#Thorsten Heins Related Posts last_img read more

This Years Indians Are Secretly Better Than Last Years

2007NL WestSDPARI1.09.3-8.3ARI *Second place in the 2017 AL Central division is currently tied.Excludes strike-shortened seasons in 1981 and 1995.Sources: Retrosheet, ESPN Stats & Info WINS 1992AL WestMINOAK1.08.7-7.7OAK 1997NL EastATLFLA4.09.8-5.8ATL 1972NL EastPITNYM5.013.3-8.3PIT 1989AL EastBALNYY6.011.2-5.2TOR The Indians are on pace to outplay their World Series versionProduction per 162 games for 2016 and 2017 Cleveland Indians So the good news for Cleveland is that it’s badly outplayed both of its would-be division challengers. The bad news is, that’s not always enough. Among the midseason division leaders on the list above, only two-thirds of them ended up eventually winning the crown, despite starting off with an average lead of 3.3 games.Even so, FiveThirtyEight’s MLB Elo ratings give the Tribe a 70 percent chance of winning the Central and an 81 percent shot at making it back to the playoffs, despite what’s shaping up to be a crowded AL wild card picture. You wouldn’t guess it from the standings, but if the Indians just keep playing the way they have been, they should be right in the thick of things again come October.Check out our latest MLB predictions. 1985NL EastSTLNYM3.09.1-6.1STL 2008AL CentralCHWMIN1.07.8-6.8CHW 2008NL EastPHIFLA1.08.9-7.9PHI 1989NL WestSFGHOU2.08.6-6.6SFG 2017AL CentralCLEMIN*2.010.9-8.9— 1993AL WestCHWKCR1.06.7-5.7CHW Nobody has secretly dominated like the 2017 IndiansDivision leaders with largest difference between actual and Pythagorean-predicted leads through 82 games, 1969-2017 YEARDIVISIONLEADERNO. 2ACTUALPYTHAG.DIFF.WINNER 1973AL WestOAKANA1.06.3-5.3OAK 1971AL EastBALBOS3.09.3-6.3BAL 1985NL WestSDPLAD2.08.4-6.4LAD Difference-7.7+1.6+0.1 2017AL CentralCLEKCR*2.08.5-6.5— 2012AL CentralCHWCLE2.08.6-6.6DET 1969AL EastBALBOS12.018.1-6.1BAL The biggest factor holding Cleveland’s record back has been a distinct lack of clutch hitting: Tribe hitters have the majors’ third-worst on-base plus slugging (OPS) with two outs and runners in scoring position, and its second-worst OPS in “high leverage” situations. But their vaunted relief pitching — led by do-everything relief ace Andrew Miller — has been as good as advertised, as have starters Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Although Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Edwin Encarnacion and Francisco Lindor have all been various degrees of disappointing in the first half, third baseman Jose Ramirez has enjoyed a breakout season (he ranks 11th in the majors in WAR). Taken altogether, Cleveland is playing just fine.But the team happens to be caught up in one of the most misleading division races ever, as far as the standings go. Through 82 games apiece, the AL Central-leading Indians’ record was two games better than those of the Royals and Twins.2Cleveland played its 82nd game on July 4, while Kansas City and Minnesota have currently played 83 games. But according to Pythagorean records, Cleveland “should” be 8.5 games up on Kansas City, and 10.9 games up on the Twins, whose -54 run differential is almost exactly the negative mirror image of the Indians’ mark.That 8.9-game difference between Cleveland’s actual and Pythagorean leads over Minnesota is the biggest gap between a division leader and runner-up at this stage of the season3Through 82 games. in the history of divisional play (since 1969): 201786.992.847.1 1976NL WestCINLAD6.013.5-7.5CIN 1970NL EastNYMPIT2.07.1-5.1PIT SEASONACTUALPYTHAGOREANWINS ABOVE REPLACEMENT Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs DIVISION LEAD 1998NL CentralHOUMIL7.013.2-6.2HOU 201694.691.247.0 Just like its struggling World Series counterparts in Chicago, things haven’t been easy for the Cleveland Indians’ pennant defense this season. The team that was one ninth-inning run away from stunning the Cubs last November looked even stronger heading into this season. The core of young talent was intact, a pair of aces missing from its postseason run were healthy, and the normally frugal Indians’ front-office shelled out $60 million for a new slugger. But despite an enormous on-paper advantage in talent, the Tribe hasn’t exactly blown the doors off the American League.Cleveland was trailing in the American League Central as recently as the last week of June; even now, they only lead the second-place Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals by a game and a half each. For a franchise that hasn’t made back-to-back playoff appearances since 1999, the 2017 Indians appear on the surface to be headed for disappointment, just like every other season on the Cuyahoga since 1948.But unlike the Cubs, who’ve mostly earned their disappointing sub-.500 record, Cleveland has played much better this season than their Ws and Ls would indicate. The team’s +58 run differential ranks seventh-best in major league baseball, placing it firmly in the next tier of contenders below the dominant Dodgers/Astros/Diamondbacks/Yankees/Nationals group at the top of the game’s pecking order. According to both the Pythagorean expectation (which converts a team’s run differential into an expected winning percentage) and total team wins above replacement1All mentions of WAR in this story will refer to an average between the competing versions offered at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. (WAR), the 2017 Indians have been superior to the 2016 version that ultimately ended up winning the AL pennant: read more