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RIM CEO Backpedals on 'No Change Needed' Claims

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We're barely a week into Thorsten Heins' reign as Research in Motion's (RIMM) new CEO, and already he's "re-clarifying" earlier statements like a politician.

Upon Monday's announcement of the regime change, Heins made some bold statements regarding his views on where RIM was, is, and will be. Analysts and shareholders were hoping for a drastic overhaul after bungling co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were ousted, but in light of the manufacturer's flagging pace behind Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), and even Nokia (NOK) and Microsoft (MSFT), the new chief didn't sound like the harbinger of the bold change we were all waiting for.

"I don't think there is a drastic change needed," Heins said in his first press conference as CEO.

Adding carbon dioxide to the fire, he went on to say, "If we continue doing well what we're doing, I see no problems with us being in the top three players worldwide in the next years in wireless," and, "At the very core of RIM is the innovation. We always think ahead. We always think forward. We sometimes think the unthinkable. And that is fantastic."

And finally, "We are heading absolutely in the right direction."

Obviously, given RIM's glacial development, arrogant short-sightedness, off-putting management, and mutinous workforce, absolutely no one concurred that the company's best position is staying the course. So probably at the behest of RIM's newly reshuffled board, Heins backpedaled a bit on his whole "no change needed" comments.

In an interview with CrackBerry, Heins clarified that he, of course, didn't mean that RIM wasn't prepared to evolve or be open to new directions -- even blaming the misinterpretation somewhat on the media, something that's all too familiar with RIM.

"I think this got into a little bit of the black and white zone," Heins said. "I was talking about drastic or seismic changes. What I was trying to address was that there was some suggestion that RIM should be split up or should even be sold. My true belief is that RIM has the strength and the assets that we can really succeed in this market."

Heins then spoke of the actual change in store at the company.

"There is a LOT of change. There is a lot of structure change, there has been already a lot of change in terms of our software, our software platform, bringing QNX in. There is no standstill at any moment here at RIM."

Could've fooled us, Thurston.

But aside from the much-welcome shift in leadership, RIM is still hampered by a late BlackBerry 10 release which places its next fleet of devices in the second half of 2012 -- roughly two years passed the point when they should've been on the shelves. Heins' outright rejection of getting into the Android business might display company pride, but RIM cannot sustain itself even as a plucky iPhone or Android alternative by being years behind the smartphone technology curve.

Ask Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) where that'll leave you.

(See also: RIM Needs More Than Just a New CEO and iPhone Can't Match Android's Versatility, Says Steve Wozniak)

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