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The BlackBerry smartphone was really the device that made smartphones popular. In that context, it’s hard not to root for BlackBerry the company to come back after losing both market share and mindshare to competitors like Apple, Google and Microsoft. But I’m not so sure CEO Thorsten Heins is helping the company’s cause.

BlackBerry tried a tablet once. It didn't go so well. Therefore, the entire space is doomed.
BlackBerry tried a tablet once. It didn’t go so well. Therefore, the entire space is doomed.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Heins came out and said that he sees a limited market for tablets in five years, and that tablets aren’t a good way to make money.

His quote:

“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.”

We’re talking tablet computers like the iPad, the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire. Devices that, according to IDC, saw a 30% sales increase from 2011 to 2012. If you talk to research firm NPD DisplaySearch, you’ll learn that tablet shipments are expected to pass notebook shipments in 2016, and, in 2017, around 416 million tablets are expected to ship.

But the jokes on you if you’re a tablet maker, because according to Thorsten Heins’ crystal ball, we’ll see a sharp decrease in demand for tablets in 2018 and sales will plummet.

Hearing this from the man who is supposed to help BlackBerry rise from the ashes is troubling, at best.

It’s not the first time Heins has done BlackBerry more harm than good with his words. After the launch of BlackBerry 10 and before the launch of the Z10 in the U.S., Heins was already talking about how BlackBerry had a better phone in store for the holiday season.

Any good CEO knows not to talk about the future product pipeline before your most recent product has launched, but Heins was effectively saying, “Hey, the Z10 isn’t going to be as good as this phone we’ll be selling at Christmas. Just wait for it.”

Heins also offered up another prediction for 2018:

“In five years, I see BlackBerry to be the absolute leader in mobile computing — that’s what we’re aiming for.”

And he believes his company is going to do that without jumping into the fastest-growing computer market. Good luck, sir.


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