RIM co-CEO Balsillie on Apple iPhone: ‘I haven’t seen one’

“If Jim Balsillie is concerned about the arrival of Apple Inc.’s much-hyped iPhone, he’s doing a good job of keeping it to himself,” Chris Sorensen reports for The Toronto Star.

“The co-CEO of Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the popular line of BlackBerry email devices, said in an interview at RIM’s Waterloo headquarters that he’s not losing sleep over Apple’s efforts to upend the wireless market in much the same way as its wildly popular iPod music devices changed the way people acquire and listen to music,” Sorensen reports.

“In fact, Balsillie said he couldn’t even confirm whether anyone at RIM’s sprawling campus has managed to get their hands on an iPhone, which went on sale in the United States a week ago amid a torrent of media coverage,” Sorensen reports.

“‘I haven’t seen one,’ he volunteered with a shrug of his shoulders and a bored expression. ‘It’s possible, I guess. I mean, you watch these things, but you really have to just focus and do your job.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Steven” for the heads up.]
Doing your job, Mr. Balsillie, would be examining the very device that will exceed your firm’s entire current subscriber base (9 million) within 12 months and all of the RIM devices ever sold (20 million, took ’em 20 years) within 24 months – and we’re being conservative on both predictions. Ignoring the device that is singlehandedly tearing down and rebuilding the very industry is which you participate is not doing your job, Mr. Balsillie.

RIM shareholders should demand to know why co-CEO Balsillie has chosen to put his (and therefore his company’s) head in the sand as the Apple iPhone steamroller approaches. Mr. Basillie and RIM are in deep denial, not to mention deep —-.


  1. Ouch, that is harsh MDN!

    RIM is small in the consumer cellphone domain (the big market Apple was hoping to get 1% of), but important in the corporate domain (a small market in comparison).

    iPhone, thus far, is not really competing with RIM’s Blackberry.

    However, I think it will, and very soon. All the indications are that more complete support for Exchange and perhaps Lotus Notes.

    So I would defer judgement until I see Jim Balsillie response to those expected developments. RIM has actually done a whole lot better than Palm and Windows CE drones would have liked. They were closer to the consumer’s experience, which is what I like about Apple.

    They are obviously light years away from producing anything like the iPhone. But I really wouldn’t yet consider them an enemy of Apple. WinCE drones, on the other hand, deserve lynching.

  2. Enjoy your sleep while you can Mr. Balsillie, there is a storm brewing up in the horizon that will keep you awake many a night until you can bare it no more but ask for admission in your local Cuckoos nest!

    When that happens please keep a note with you to ask for some camel’s Milk, it will help hasten your admission!

    Note to self: The Balmy one combined with the Silly one = BalSillie?

    Interesting CEO names.

    Note to techstock shareholders:- Do not vote in names beginning with Bal, or the other side of the coin, please do so that AAPL can mop the market up!

  3. Too Hot,
    They may not deserve a lynching, but that’s what they’re going to get. Even without better Exchange support, the iPhone will take market share from RIM. When the iPhone adds Exchange and updates the software to fix few minor flaws it has, RIM is toast.

    Balsillie is either lying when he says he hasn’t seen an iPhone, which is ok, because he’s just trying to put on a brave face, or he really hasn’t seen one, in which case he should be fired. Immediately.

  4. A co-worker of mine just got a new Curve. I placed my iPhone next to his curve on his desk. The Curve’s design just looks ancient to the iPhone.

    Once a Blackberry client is made for the iPhone, it’ll be over for RIM from a handset standpoint. Maybe they can still push their servers though.

  5. Superb example of MDN’s mock-anyone-who-isn’t-vocally-pro-Apple stance.

    The CEO of a competitor is principally concerned with the effect any statements he may make might have on his share price.

    Don’t be so damned naive. Of course they’re looking at the iPhone.

  6. So what does anyone expect Balsillie to say? That they’re really worried about it; that if Apple adds corporate push e-mail like Blackberry has that RIM is doomed; that they have no real answer planned; that Apple has patented the iPhone up the wazoo so RIM can’t copy it very easily?

    C’mon guys, Balsille is doing a much better job than the other players like Verizon or Nokia. Balsille has basically used Apple’s hype and marketing to get himself off the hook, essentially saying, “We can’t get them yet, so we can’t tear it down and can’t tell just how dangerous it may be.”

  7. Disappointing MDN-take as others have suggested.

    Rim deserves a lot of credit for evolving a device that has made the corporate world – at least the one I’m in – a lot more productive. Long before my favorite company – Apple – ever jumped into these waters. I’m glad Apple is now here, but don’t see the need to take away from what Rim has already accomplishedincluding nasty, merit-less patent lawsuits.

    iPhone, will most certainly be cutting into their business, but they probably will make a client, as someone mentioned above, that will allow them to continue to co-exist. That’s my hope anyway.

    And to think they’re not looking at it, I’m sure they are….

  8. “However, I think it will, and very soon. All the indications are that more complete support for Exchange and perhaps Lotus Notes.”

    Possibly even by Blackberry Connect for iPhone. Perhaps he doesn’t have to worry because he knows all corporate iPhone customers will be his too.

    “looks ancient to the iPhone.”

    Yet it works better for email etc. In that corporate market, Apple=form, Blackberry=substance.

  9. Guys, I’m in agreement that when iPhone supports corporate push email, RIM’s fortunes will be in jeopardy. But until then, iPhone is not much of a threat to them.

    By the way, RIM is in over 130 countries, which also means that when they start loosing market share in the US, their global market shares could continue to grow until the iPhone makes it to those markets. That will also be temporary, unless Apple decides not to expand globally, which is unlikely.

    I also agree that he’s just a CEO who has to be careful when making public statements. He probably has already assigned teams of people to “be concerned” about the iPhone.

    I would love nothing less than corporate support on the iPhone, it would make my life easier. Hurry up Apple!

  10. Grow up, kids. There’s room for everybody. RIM isn’t going anywhere, and right now the iPhone, as good as it is, is not competing with the Blackberry. That may change, it may not, but right now they aren’t competing devices.

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