While everyone was expecting the ouster of former RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, I don't think people were expecting it so suddenly. Yesterday, the company made it official: Mike and Jim are out, and Thorsten Heins is taking the reins as CEO. By himself.
At the same time that I type these words into my computer (8:00 a.m. EST), RIM is holding a special press conference in which Heins praises the company for all its accomplishments during 2011, such as the 75 million people who are using BlackBerry devices, 55 million who are messaging via BlackBerry Messenger, and RIM's cash reserves, which totalled $1.5 billion at the end of the year.
That wasn't before the company said Lazaridis won't be completely out of the company: he will become the vice-chair to RIM's board and chairman of its new innovation committee. As for Balsillie, the only mention from RIM was that he (and Lazaridis) recommended Heins as their replacement.
Heins also seemed pretty energetic about the future of RIM during the conference. He explained that QNX will set the foundation for all of BlackBerry's platforms for the next decade. And since PlayBook 2.0 and BlackBerry 10 fall under those new platforms, each will have an Android app emulator.
I hope that Thorsten Heins can do a much better job at being a CEO than Mike and Jim, because RIM has some really great ideas and killer business phones; if it could just transfer over some of that success to the consumer end, I'm sure it could rise to the top of the smartphone charts once again.