CALL REPORT: so, they didn't try to change my mind, mostly are looking to build a relationship. They are reading this thread and understand the deep hole they are in, both in perception and reality. It's clear that they don't agree with my "go Android" advice. They don't see a potential for saving their business there. So, they are going to keep investing in their own OS's.
They are making it easy for many Android developers to move their apps over (not all apps, they admit, will move over, but many will). That's a sound strategy for attempting to get more apps onto their platform (at Microsoft we called this "embrace and extend").
They are betting on HTML 5. I think that's a bright spot for them. If Microsoft wins with Windows 8 they will get a lot of attention on HTML 5 and if RIM and Microsoft can convince developers that HTML 5 is where the cool developers should be, then they could potentially flip the market. There's a bunch of problems with that approach, of course (because Android and iOS will invest in HTML 5 too, making sure that HTML 5 apps don't run better on Windows Phone or RIM devices) and most people are hearing over and over in media about Apple and ANdroid apps, and not Windows Phone or RIM apps. If I were at Microsoft and/or RIM I'd build a team to change the perception of HTML 5 apps in the marketplace. RIM's trying to do this (we'll meet up at SXSW) but I just don't think RIM has enough marketing muscle to do this.
They are going to play up their advantages. Like pointing out that their keyboards are still better than those on Android devices and that they make people more productive than touch keyboards, like on the iOS devices. That is good too, I still meet people all the time who still are using Blackberry-based devices because of the keyboards, email app, and BBM.
But can RIM change the perception of their company, that it's circling the drain? THat's going to be a tougher one to do short term especially because venture-backed startups aren't supporting anything that's not iOS or Android based for the most part. I don't know how to fix that problem short term if you aren't able to switch to one of those two platforms.
One other thing: they did point out, like I predicted, that their strength in non-USA markets helps them. That doesn't sit well with me, Nokia folks gave me the same answers for years and it was just as lame. San Francisco really is in the drivers' seat right now and that is only gaining strength around the world (see my video just this week with a company from India, for a great example of that, or remember my conversations with +Kai-Fu Lee
who used to run Google for China. He has an iPhone in his hands).
Anyway, my hat is off to those who are trying to save RIM. I wish you luck and am looking forward to seeing you at SXSW.