|Dutt: Gaining strength
Canada-based communications firm Research in Motion is gearing up to globally launch its operating system — BlackBerry 10 platform — at a time rivals Samsung and Apple are giving it a stiff competition with product and service offerings. Speaking to Jayati Ghose of The Telegraph, Sunil Dutt, managing director of India operations, reveals how the BlackBerry maker plans to gain a stronger foothold in India, its fastest growing market.
Q: What is Research in Motion’s strategy to capture a bigger market share in India? Will you focus more on retail, young customers? Or, will you shift your focus away from the enterprise segment, which is not doing well for BlackBerry?
A: We are excited about the new operating system — the BlackBerry 10 platform — which is coming up soon. This is a real-time multitasking platform.
India is a growing market and the smartphone segment has immense potential. The adoption rate of smartphones is very high here as the youth is tech savvy. This is the segment that we will address with our new platform and handset range.
In terms of our customer focus, it never shifted from the enterprise segment. Only now we have more retail sale points and the same enterprise customer is buying a BlackBerry from a retail store as opposed to being provided with a device from his company. So the focus remains equal. What is also happening is that the young college goer, who may be buying a Curve has a focused aspirational target to buy the Bold or the Torch once they become a young executive. So we will continue adding value to our products which will cater to both the retail and the enterprise segment.
Q: When will the BlackBerry 10 platform be launched? Is there a line-up of devices and what will be the price proposition in India, considering this is a price conscious market?
A: The BlackBerry 10 platform will see a global launch, including in India, in the first quarter of 2013 i.e. the January-March 2013 period.
There will be a strong line-up of devices, initially in the high-end segment. For any new platform and device the aspirational value and excitement are mainly in this segment and that is where we will focus initially. Over a period of time, we will be present across all price points.
Q: What will happen to the current range of devices — the Curve, Bold, Torch and others — after the launch of the new platform?
A: Our current range addressed a particular segment in the market and they will continue doing that. These devices are based on the BlackBerry 7 platform and applications made for these existing devices, plus the PlayBook and the BB10 platform, are all based on HTML5. So they can all co-exist.
Q: Media reports seem to indicate that encryption keys to the Blackberry Enterprise service or corporate email service, RIM's main attraction for companies, had been shared with the Indian security agencies. What are the facts?
A: While we continue our efforts to provide solutions to the Indian government for lawful interception of data, it is imperative to understand that the encryption keys for enterprise services are sitting with the respective enterprises and we cannot hand over these keys to any third party.
RIM has no ability to read the encrypted information and has no master key or backdoor key to allow access to corporate emails.