U.S. News

CNBC Exclusive: RIM Co-CEO Unfazed by Growing Competition

Jamie Corsi

In an exclusive interview on CNBC, Research In Motion Co-CEO James Balsillie said he's not intimidated by the growing competition in the handheld wireless sector.


"Competition is endemic in the wireless space and it has been there since day one," Balsillie told CNBC's Sue Herera. "When we launched the BlackBerry, there were thirty middle-wear vendors in the wireless space to begin with. It is an industry with open standards and a lot of big and exceptional companies like Nokia, Microsoft and Apple are all creating innovations. There is no question that this is a growing industry and we are seeing tremendous growth.”

While he agreed that the growth in mergers and acquisitions will change the competitive landscape, Balsillie said it won't change the way RIM does business.

“The biggest companies in the world have literally invested billions into the sector and obviously it creates a competitive environment," Balsillie said. "But it also validates the opportunities, so I don’t see any mergers or acquisitions structurally changing the landscape in a way that we cannot respond.”

Earlier this month, RIM  rolled out the smallest and lightest full-keyboard BlackBerry smartphone yet, a new multimedia-laden device aimed at broadening the market that it seeks to conquer.

Aside from all of the standard calling and wireless e-mail functions RIM's  devices are known for, the new BlackBerry Curve comes with a 2-megapixel camera with 5X zoom, built-in flash and a full-screen viewfinder.

It lets users watch videos and play music like other BlackBerries, but also comes with an advanced media manager program and a photo editor as well.

The Curve follows on the success of the BlackBerry Pearl, which debuted last September to rave reviews and has sold very well for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company.

The Pearl, however, did not feature a full, so-called QWERTY keyboard which some users prefer.

In the CNBC interview, Balsillie said RIM has seen major growth throughout the world.

“We are almost three hundred carriers around the world from about forty-five carriers just three years ago," he said. "So, you put that together and it is quite an exciting development that we have seen such global growth opportunities.”