BlackBerry CEO: In five years, I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore

“BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said he sees a limited future for tablet computers, an indication he may shelve plans to build a follow- up to the smartphone maker’s ill-fated PlayBook device,” Hugo Miller and Nadja Brandt report for Bloomberg News. “‘In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,’ Heins said in an interview yesterday at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles. ‘Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.'”

“The PlayBook, introduced in 2011, was panned by critics for debuting without built-in e-mail, delivering the tablet a near-fatal blow,” Miller and Brandt report. “Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry took a $485 million charge later that year to write down unsold inventory after shipping as few as 150,000 PlayBooks in the third quarter of 2012.”

Miller and Brandt report, “The company’s stock has experienced volatility in recent weeks following reports of lackluster demand for the Z10… In a separate report last week, Wedge Partners said BlackBerry is probably scaling back Z10 production.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Self-delusion is a dangerous game for anyone, but especially perilous for CEOs.

Call us crazy, but we’re going to go with the preeminent tech visionary of our age over some random amateur hour CEO:

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars… PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people. – Steve Jobs, June 1, 2010

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Blues237” for the heads up.]

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: Tablets ‘the mother of all markets,’ Mac cannibalization not a concern – February 12, 2013
An homage to the modern-day tablet, invented by Apple – January 10, 2013
Steve Jobs was right, of course: Tablets are cars and PCs are trucks – January 9, 2013
Steve Jobs’ revenge – April 12, 2013
Microsoft’s stock takes beating after putrid Windows PC shipment reports – April 11, 2013
Apple Macintosh on the rise as Windows PC market plummets – April 11, 2013
Gartner and IDC trumpet wildly incongruous Mac unti sales estimates – April 11, 2013
Gartner: PC Market posts 11.2 percent decline in Q113; Apple Mac sales up 7.4 percent in U.S. – April 10, 2013
IDC: PC shipments post the steepest decline ever in a single quarter, down 13.9% in Q113 – April 10, 2013

63 Comments

    1. If he thinks there is no need for a tablet in the future why does he say they will revisit tablets if he sees them as profitable.. So he is saying if he can make money people will use them? Strange…

      1. Yes, he is absolutely right. Tablets in of themselves is not a good business model. Again, absolutely right.

        The iPad is not successful because it’s a tablet. (Ugh, a tablet?). It’s successful because Apple had something in mind for us to do with it before they released it.

        Apple released software to satisfy the need of users to DO something.

        BB’s CEO is right. He can think of nothing a BB customer would want to do on a tablet.

        Really…I would like to know… What do you think a BB customer would do on a tablet that couldn’t be done on a handheld device? Put your suggestions here.

        BB failed because the PlayBook had no business case.

        BB should make a handset that would blow us away. If they can’t make one better than the iPhone, so be it.

    1. Apple fans should learn not NEVER under estimate an opponent and in particular when that opponent is headed up by a German born and Siemens trained intellectual. BB will be fine and hang on to your hats as the Q10 is about to repatriate millions of BB users. I use a Z10 and find it almost impossible o revert to my iPhone 5 as the QNX gesture based OS is simply to die for. I now carry a iPad Mini and a Z10. 🙂

      I love Apple but not to a point of ignorance!

      Jim

      1. The iPhone just got its 9th consecutive ‘best phone’ award from JDP.
        Neither Apple nor fans underestimate anyone, but when a CEO calls a trend that almost bankrupted his company ‘a fad’, only a blithering dolt would take the comment seriously.

      2. When you say “not never under estimate” – that actually means it’s okay to under estimate your BB leader. Also, you had a few typo’s with your post – hope you weren’t using that super cool QNX keyboard just then.

        If you have a iPad mini – at this point, you only need a TracFone to make telephone calls – what else do you need the z10 for? Faux car alarm LED?

      3. “a German born and Siemens trained intellectual”

        Speaking as an ex-employee of BMW North America (and I do love the company and the people who work there) there is NOTHING like the combination of German born and “intellectual” to produce ARROGANCE AND STUBBORNNESS ON
        STEROIDS!

      4. 23 million iPads sold by Apple last quarter. RIM Tablet sales? Not even a pixel width on a pie chart. This intellectual is a bozo. I never ceases to amaze me how clueless some leaders are these day. How did they get through the ranks without it becoming known that there’s a serious lack of understanding of their markets. The Peter Principle at it’s zenith. He probably owns a Zune.

    1. Over the past 4 years, Tablets have pretty much taken over PC purchases for the Window universe. So lets pretend and play Thorsten Heins little game here. Lets imagine five years from now.
      A time where there is no need – no wants – no wishes for tablet computing. For some reason, people don’t wish to draw – paint – create music – do spread sheets – or keynotes, on what took over the pc universe. Hard to see… but lets.

      In order to imagine this, either two things would need to occur.

      1) Laptop and/or Desktops cpu power needs to increase about 4 – 8 times better then todays machines HOWEVER sale prices of these superior machines would have to be equally to present Tablet pricing.

      (can’t see that happening)

      2) Cellphones need to pack more processing power and include some way to offer integration to larger format screens. Perhaps projection capabilities could come from the device itself OR MAYBE Air Play could grow to the extent that it is offered on every large format tv manufacturer.

      (if so, then – yeah maybe Tablets will vanish from the market)

      The only way I can agree with him is fo

  1. Someone’s never watched Star Trek Next Generation or any of its spinoffs. I bet this idiot would also say there’s no future for voice recognition, 3d printers, or holograms.

  2. Even if that was true Apple and perhaps other companies are going to be selling an awful lot of them over that 5 year period. You can barely afford to lose 5 weeks of sales in the tech market, but ruling yourself out of 5 years in one of the biggest sectors is just insanity.

      1. That’s the thing, even if they’re a fad and we all just go back to laptops, 5 years is a long time, and there’s a lot of money that will be spent which they’re just writing off.

        1. You and I know the genie/iPad is out of the bottle and anyone thinking we’ll all just solely go back to laptops and desktops has got a serious reality check coming. What does Blackberry have to gain from such statements except to look incredibly stupid and clueless (which is what got them into trouble to begin with)? It seems more like sour grapes – “we can’t play but soon you won’t be able to play either!”

    1. That’s true – perhaps he is merely stating the obvious that Blackberry/Rim themselves (can’t compete) so BB is finished with Tablets – Phablets because they again themselves, see no future in them.

  3. Or perhaps He is saying what we all know, making tablets is a bad business model for Blackberry because people will not want just any tablet. They want iPads.

  4. There must be a virus in the the BB CEO’s office that causes BB CEO’s to fire off their mouths without thinking.
    Once again another BB CEO has let loose verbal diarrhea. VD can be diagnosed easily by looking out for the following symptoms.
    A statement is made of a products death is predicted without physical evidence, the physical evidence can include facts, figures, production and sales figures.
    The death of the product is attributed to the size of the product ignoring where said product is currently commonly in use.
    The death of the product will be heralded by a hitherto unannounced product. The unannounced product is backed up by a vacuous void that ought to be filled by the vital statistics of the new product that will kill the said product.
    The single attribute of the new product that will replace the said product is of a size that is bigger, nay, gargantuan proportions compared to the said product because in future, all individuals will be driving to work in their own bus/train as the only vehicle’s currently that will be able to house said gargantuan product or screen.

    I have to invent an antivirus that I can sell to future BB CEO’s to temporarily halt the VD virus!!! 🙂

  5. I thought he was going to make the argument that technology will make ultrabooks so think and light that people would be just as well having one of those. BTW, I do not agree with this reasoning, but at least a case could be made. I personally think tablets provide a different enough experience and model that has less emphasis on computing power and more on the UI and mobility, it light and long battery life. Removing computing power as the main draw really took a long time to be accepted by tech pundits and Apple competitors…well, MS apparently still does not get it.

    Instead, his reasoning appears to be 1. people will have big screens on their desk, 3. tablets are not a good business model. Never mind that whether something is a good business model is not always related to what consumers want, eg music subscription services. How many companies in that area went down screaming how great their model was for them?

  6. Here’s a suggestion… go and USE an iPad, thoroughly, for one week. Then make a prediction that has a single grain of merit.

    With this one utterly stupid statement I’m now convinced Blackberry is lost.

    And that hurts. I’m from North of the 49th parallel.

    1. Yeah, me too. What an idiotic thing to say. I hoped this guy might have a clue. It sends the message that he doesn’t have the confidence in his so called ecosystem to compete. I mean, who develops a platform these days without a tablet in mind? Stick a fork in RIM.

  7. Actually, he’s probably right.

    Unfortunately for him and his company, Apple will be the company to invent the next great thing.

    He’ll still look like a visionary in hindsight, though.

    Good for him.

    Eh?

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