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Research in Motion shares up on CEO’s talk of future options

Thorsten Heins poses for a portrait at the Research in Motion (RIM) company headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, January 22, 2012 . RIM's Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie have resigned as co-CEOs and co-chairmen, handing the top job to an insider with four years at the struggling BlackBerry maker. (GEOFF ROBINS/REUTERS)

Research in Motion shares rallied Tuesday after chief executive Thorsten Heins indicated in an interview that he would be open to some radical changes at the company moving forward.

According to a report from Reuters, Heins told the German newspaper Die Welt that he would be willing to discuss licensing RIM’s BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system to other companies and to consider selling off the company’s hardware manufacturing unit.

In his remarks, Heins stressed that there was no need to rush into decisions like these, particularly before the company introduces its new operating system. But investors seemed cheered by the company’s future possibilities.

BlackBerrys were once the devices of choice for business people and serious smartphone users, but they have fallen fast as Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android operating system grow in popularity. Many see BlackBerry 10 as the company’s last chance to overcome its losses.

The new system, set for release on Jan. 30, is aimed squarely at business users who want the same phone for their professional and personal lives.

Research in Motion saw its shares spike overseas when Heins’ comments hit newsstands Monday -- the inauguration and Martin Luther King Jr. holiday for the United States, when markets were closed.

The stock, which opened at $17.07 on Tuesday, closed 13 percent up at $17.90 for the day.

RIM also announced that it will add music and video content to its mobile storefront, which is changing its name from BlackBerry App World to BlackBerry World. The company has been aggressively courting developers to get better quality content onto the platform before the BB10 launch, hoping that solid apps will lure more consumers.

Developers appear to have answered the call, so far. RIM said Monday that it would give developers a little more time to submit applications for its “Built for BlackBerry” challenge, which will reward apps that make at least $1,000 in revenue during BB10’s first year. The company said it is extending the deadline because of the high volume of submissions — more than 19,000 were sent in over the past weekend alone, the company said.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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