RIM’s half-CEO: We think customers getting tired of being told what to think by Apple

Apple Online StoreYesterday, Apple CEO and tech visionary Steve Jobs had this to say about Research In Motion:

We sold 14.1 million iPhones in the quarter which represents a 91% unit growth over the year ago quarter and was well ahead of IDC’s latest published estimate of 64% growth for the global smartphone market in the September quarter. And it handily beat RIM’s 12.1 million BlackBerries sold in their most recent quarter ending in August. We’ve now passed RIM. And I don’t see them catching up with us for the foreseeable future. They must move beyond their area of strength and comfort into the unfamiliar territory of trying to become a software platform company. I think it’s going to be a challenge for them to create a competitive platform and to convince developers to create apps for yet a third software platform after iOS and Android. With 300,000 apps on Apple’s App Store, RIM has a high mountain ahead of them to climb.

RIM’s half-CEO Jim Balsillie took the bait, hook, line, and sinker and responded today:

For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7″ tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple. And by the way, RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 – 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter. Apple’s preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM’s August-ending quarter doesn’t tell the whole story because it doesn’t take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger than summer months, nor does it explain why Apple only shipped 8.4 million devices in its prior quarter and whether Apple’s Q4 results were padded by unfulfilled Q3 customer demand and channel orders. As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story.

MacDailyNews Take: So, who to believe? The man who’s changed the world multiple times with Apple ][, Macintosh, NeXT/Mac OS X, iMac, iPod, iTunes, iTunes Store, Pixar, iPhone, App Store, and iPad, to mention a few, or a man who requires a co-CEO to help him get through day? Tough choice: The visionary vs. the nobody; the man who successfully ran two companies for years or the guy who can’t even run half a company properly.

Flash? Strike one. 7-inch tablet with an badly outclassed OS? Strike two. Never-ending Buy One Get One Free carrier promotions that artificially inflate unit sales of antiquated phones festooned with plastic mechanical buttons? Strike three. You’re out! And that’s before we get to the complete lack of competitive ecosystems for third-party accessories and apps. Even grandma knows BlackBerry phones are old-fashioned relics from the past.

As we said months ago: RIM is a dead company walking whether or not they can admit it to the world or even to themselves.

Concentrate on making failed bids for NHL teams, Jimmy. Your epitaph: He neglected his business, sat on his laurels, and failed his employees and shareholders while quixotically chasing after NHL teams and spouting nonsense.

176 Comments

  1. If device makers really scrap their 7-in tablet plans and take longer to develop a 10-in Chrome tablet, it would put a serious dent in Adobe’s immediate plans.

    I bet Adobe felt really smug when it believed it will always hang on to their 98% desktop/browser share claim. They never thought one day they will have to rely on hardware and OS makers to allow their software work.

  2. If device makers really scrap their 7-in tablet plans and take longer to develop a 10-in Chrome tablet, it would put a serious dent in Adobe’s immediate plans.

    I bet Adobe felt really smug when it believed it will always hang on to their 98% desktop/browser share claim. They never thought one day they will have to rely on hardware and OS makers to allow their software work.

  3. “We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple,”

    Wait… so Blackberry is an open platform that isn’t closed and proprietary? that’s news to me

  4. “We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple,”

    Wait… so Blackberry is an open platform that isn’t closed and proprietary? that’s news to me

  5. Blackberry users still… Use tiny plastic keyboards on their fugly-phones, still use a 2 button mouse, still have to “defrag” their computers weekly (ah heck just ctl+alt+del again), still have an aol email address, and NEVER back up their contacts on their phones or their computers and they still own vcr’s.

    No wonder they are not interested in Apple products. Creatures of habit.

  6. Blackberry users still… Use tiny plastic keyboards on their fugly-phones, still use a 2 button mouse, still have to “defrag” their computers weekly (ah heck just ctl+alt+del again), still have an aol email address, and NEVER back up their contacts on their phones or their computers and they still own vcr’s.

    No wonder they are not interested in Apple products. Creatures of habit.

  7. My hope that RIMM would beat out Android to be Apple’s main competitor.

    That hope seems to be fading more and more. I thought Jimbo’s try for the NHL team was a steep uphill climb because of that A-hole Gary Bettman’s stupid bias towards American teams but now I am wondering if it is just Balsillie’s inability to see the immediate future and maneuver accordingly.

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