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RIM CEO says licensing of BlackBerry 10 'conceivable'

Thorsten Heins tells a German newspaper that it's possible the new operating system might end up on third-party devices.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins. James Martin/CNET

Research In Motion will launch devices running BlackBerry 10 at the end of the month, but the handset maker is still playing with the idea of licensing its new operating system to other manufacturers.

When asked whether RIM might license the new platform as Microsoft did with Windows Phone, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins told German newspaper Die Welt that it's not out of the realm of possibility.

"Before you licensed the software, you must show that the platform has a large potential," he said, "First we have to fulfill our promises. If such proof, a licensing is conceivable."

Licensing would allow third-party hardware makers to put the new OS on non-RIM devices. RIM has a lot riding on BlackBerry 10, which the company hopes will reinvigorate the brand. After some delay, RIM is expected to unveil handsets for the new platform next week in a multiple-city debut.

When asked about the delay, Heins said the company's goal was to create a solid platform that would last a decade.

"We have taken the time to build a platform that is future-proof for the next ten years," he said. "Our aim is not only to smartphones, but also to the use, for example, in cars that will be in the future increasingly networked. We see with BlackBerry 10 completely new areas of growth."

The company has been struggling to bring back lost market share and sales for its once popular BlackBerry devices, but it's not having much luck in an industry ruled by Apple and Android, which Google has had great success licensing to third-party hardware makers. The company announced a broad restructuring last year and is rumored to be considering a plan to split in two, separating its handset division from its messaging network and selling off the struggling BlackBerry hardware business