Jeremy Glaser: Hi, I'm here with Alex McCallum with BlackBerry, here at CES 2010. Alex, thanks for joining me.
Alex McCallum: Thanks, nice to be here.
Glaser: How important have apps become to consumers deciding to purchase a BlackBerry device or any smartphone?
McCallum: It think apps are very important to consumers. It's the next phase of personalization. The services that really that add value to your life definitely help consumers today. And they're looking for very rich, deeply integrated applications that they can use every day.
Glaser: BlackBerry is obviously a huge presence in the enterprise market. How important are apps to the enterprise customer?
McCallum: I think the applications are important to enterprises just for productivity. But really in today's age you have more of a "pro-sumer." During the day I work for an enterprise, but at night I turn into a consumer, and I don't usually change my device; my device is on me all the time.
So we do have that grey area where during the day I want productivity and at night I want some entertainment.
Glaser: Have you found a lot of enterprise customers coming to you saying, "We want to develop internal apps for use for our crew on the road or to to track sales," those kinds of apps? Or is it mostly demand for things like Facebook or Urban Spoon, or things that are more consumer focused?
McCallum: We see a lot of both, actually. You'll see demand for applications such as SAP, where they're adding a lot of value to the enterprise. And enterprises are coming to us asking, "I have this problem, what application can help me out with that?"
And then at the same time, you have the actual employees of that enterprise looking for applications that, one, are secure and won't disrupt the enterprise by allowing malicious hardware in. Which for RIM, our security brand and how we built the platform, is very good for us. Because we're really looking at that and making sure that's something that remains safe, and the enterprises all know that the applications that we put on the device are safe.
So, yeah, an employee then is a consumer as well, as they're looking for the Facebooks, the ThumbPlays ... of the world.
Glaser: So how would you say your development process differs from that of Apple's, or for Android market?
McCallum: Our application development is one of partnership, where we're looking to partner with the development community. We're very open platform. We're not trying to restrict how you come to us. We're very flexible in how we can work with partners and application developers. And that has really blossomed over the last few years.
Glaser: Switching gears a little bit, Google made a bit of a splash by deciding that they're going to try to sell their Nexus One Android phone directly to consumers via their Web site. Obviously this is not the first time people have tried to sell unlocked phones.
Is this a model that you think kind of threatens the traditional carrier subsidy handset approach? Or do you think it's going to be more of a blip on the radar screen?
McCallum: I think the carriers are a big part to our ecosystem. They offer a lot of value. They're closest to the end customer. And when you're working with the carriers, they're offering that support and that daily interaction.
So for RIM, it's a very good relations and one that we foster over years. We look to work with the carriers, and we think that's the right model to go with.
Glaser: So you don't foresee a time when you're going to go to the RIM Web site and purchase your BlackBerry unlocked and then shop it around for carriers, you still see people going into the Verizon store, the AT&T store, to pick up their device.
McCallum: The model today is a wonderful model. Our carriers offer a lot of value to our end consumer, and they offer a lot of value to RIM. I'm more about fostering that relationship, and I think the model today works.