RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his "distortion field"

RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his "distortion field"

Summary: RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie responds to Steve Jobs' comments about RIM, jabbing back at Apple's closed platform and distortion field.

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I could offer some commentary on what is yet another response to the Steve Jobs rant that occurred on yesterday's Apple earnings call. (Tweetdeck's founder chimed in early this morning.) But Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research in Motion, doesn't need any help firing back at Apple's CEO.

The jabs from Balsillie on a blog post of his own:

  • Apple lives in a "distortion field"
  • Adobe Flash support is important to customers.
  • Apple’s closed platform may be good for Apple but developers want more options
  • "We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple."

To recap, on the call, Jobs said:

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 Blackberry's sold in their most recent quarter ending in August. We've now passed RIM, and I don't seem them catching up with us in 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.

On the Inside BlackBerry blog today, Balsillie wrote:

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.

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Topics: BlackBerry, Apple, CXO, IT Employment

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65 comments
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  • Whose distortion?

    Got a grown kid with a Blackberry. She can't wait to get rid of it when the iPhone gets over to Verizon. Thinks the Blackberry is cheesy.
    MC_z
    • Blackberry is 'corporate'

      @MC_z ... it's sported by 40 and 50 something corporate managers. iPhone is for consumers, particularly young ones.
      Jobs: 1
      JimB: nil
      HollywoodDog
      • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

        @HollywoodDog
        Yeah you are right. It is for the young ones who do not have to pay for it ! Their corporate parents do !!!

        I have stuck with monochrome Nokias for ages as these were the only ones readable in every kind of ambient illumination. My daughter's iPhone is totally washed out in daylight. BTW I need my mobile phone for conversation and SMSs only.

        About 5 months back I got a BlackBerry as 40th wedding anniversary gift. I would say this is one cool device. Readable even under the sunlight. Try it with iPhone and find out for your self.
        pmshah@...
    • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

      @MC_z

      Kids will use whatever they think is cool! It doesn't matter that the Iphone is overpriced and pitched by a guy who'd sell a ketchup pop-cicle to his own mom. Apple is worried people...they know Android is nipping at their heals and with Win7 on the horizon they will surely lose some market share between the 4 (bb, i-crap, win7 and android). Maybe apple can hire that annoying actor to do some more of those lame commercials!
      Rob.sharp
    • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

      My cheap BB Curve is the best phone I've ever had. That model isn't much of a surfer but I pretty much live on the web as it is. I needed a communication device and that's what I got.

      Well understood that folks like MC_z's daughter are looking for handheld entertainment, and that's a huge part of the market.

      Apple's iPhones are fine surfers, no question. And there are a lot of great apps for them.

      But I loathe getting calls from people with iPhones because the sound is crummy and there are so often problems like jumping volume, blasts of background noise, and, of course, dropped calls. I know a lot of people on AT&T and the folks who end up with dropped calls are often those using iPhones. In fact, I'm on T-Mobile, which is mostly the same network -- and I almost never have dropped calls. (I'm in the greater LA area, so it's not typically a problem area, I don't think.)
      ks2problema
    • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

      @MC_z Apple Distortion field. WHere jobs makes BS claims based on half of a story and iDiots believe it. Or when he releases a crappy product and calls it revolutionary and people walk around saying how awesome it is, even though its got nothing that other people don't have. Or them shipping 14M phones, when their current phone is defective and technically shouldn't be allowed to be sold to consumers.
      Jimster480
      • The rantings of a child

        Since you don't buy anything from Apple, what are you whining about.
        ahh so
    • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

      @MC_z I've got 4 kids. Two with Blackberry's and two with iPhones. The two with iPhones want out of their contracts to move to the Berry. All the phones are about the same age (2-3 years except for a brand new iPhone 4). Four reasons:
      - Reliability. The Berry's are all original. The iPhones (there have been 4 have all died for one reason or another).
      - Battery Life. The Berries are WAY better on battery life in day to day usage. Even my old Storm 1 would go through 2 days of heavy use. My kids can't get a day out of the iPhones after about 6 months and then are always looking for a Apple approved charging cord. I've got 10 or so USB-B's that I've picked up for under a few bucks each on eBay in cars, attached to the computers, etc and there is never a problem finding a spot for the Berry to get charged but the kids are always losing their charging cords and then having to go buy Apple ones at a stiff premium. Plus they can't replace the battery.
      - As a real smartphone the iPhone sucks. The reception is crap on them compared to the berry's and email is still WAY better on the berry
      - Finally, Blackberry Messenger. That seems to be a killer app for the kids. I'm constantly amazed that they'll be doing group chats with 6-10 other kids. My iPhone kids sit on the sideline and are getting passed by.

      iPhone is fun for games but if you want a real smartphone that just works, the Berry is much better. It took 2 years for some of my kids to admit it.
      mapsonburt
      • I don't know how RIM did it but they did

        @mapsonburt
        If I had to count kids with BBs and kids with iPhones, kids with BBs would [b]far[/b] outnumber kids with iPhones.

        And I agree with you about BB Messenger. That is the killer app for kids.
        NonZealot
  • closed?

    how is rim any less closed than apple? both offer a proprietary OS with their own hardware and don't license the software. closed? open? these words obviously have lost all of their meaning.

    and here is a good take from mdn:
    "So, who to believe? The man who's changed the world multiple times with Apple II, 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 get him through day? Tough choice: The visionary vs. the nobody."
    banned from zdnet
    • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

      @banned from zdnet It's official banned from zdnet is an Apple Pie (Apple Tard)
      czorrilla
    • Changed the world?

      I'd say that they're good products (some of them) but "change the world" seems a bit much.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

        @goff256

        In the sense that they've changed personal computers, I'd say it's pretty appropriate.

        And you certainly can't ignore Pixar's influence.
        msalzberg
      • Agreed, Apple has done nothing but follow the leader

        @goff256
        The leader has changed from decade to decade but Apple was never the one doing true inventing or innovation. They will always require a Palm or an MS or a Google to actually think up the good ideas. Then they come in a few years later with their copy of it.
        NonZealot
      • Really?

        Microsoft has had much more influence on the Personal Computer field. IBM and Intel have also had more influence than Apple.

        And you do realize that Apple didn't create Pixar, right? They did some good work with an already created company before selling it.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

        @goff256

        Hmm...the Apple ][ really paved the way for personal computing as we know it, the Macintosh popularized the WIMP interface, the iPod/iTunes music store changed the way music is bought...I think that's a fair amount of influence.

        As for Pixar, I know that Apple didn't create it. This is an article about Steve Jobs, so I don't understand your point. It should be noted that the company we now know as Pixar was called the Graphics Group. It became Pixar after its purchase by Steve Jobs. If you think it's not an influential company, I'd suggest you do some research.
        msalzberg
      • @goff256: Exactly right

        [i]Microsoft has had much more influence on the Personal Computer field[/i]

        Apple's goal was always to get Apple products in the hands of the few and the wealthy. It is MS and the clones that actually popularized the personal computer.

        Same with the GUI. All the hard and innovative work was done at Xerox, stolen by Apple, then popularized by Microsoft. After all, if we were to count the people in the world who have used the Microsoft GUI and compared it to the number of people who have used the Apple GUI, the MS GUI is by [b]far[/b] the more popular. Hence, the GUI and the mouse were popularized by MS, not by Apple.
        NonZealot
      • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

        "Hmm...the Apple ][ really paved the way for personal computing as we know it, the Macintosh popularized the WIMP interface, the iPod/iTunes music store changed the way music is bought...I think that's a fair amount of influence."

        And if it were up to Apple, few people would likely have computers nowadays. Their prices didn't exactly lend to many people getting one.

        I would say that Microsoft/IBM/Intel had much more influence, having brought computers to the masses. I'm not going to argue that Apple isn't a good company, it is a great company. I like their iPod Touch line so much. They revolutionized that industry, I would say (Personal Media Player/Music).

        I just think that there were many more people who contributed more to Personal Computing. And nobody ever seems to want to get any credit to any of the others ones when they can give credit to the "Magical" Apple.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: RIM's Balsillie fires back at Apple's Jobs and his

        @goff256

        No one works in isolation and all inventions are based to a large degree on work of other people..Even Einstein is said to have stood on the shoulders of giants.

        That said, I agree with banned_from_zdnet. Apple has a large share in innovation in the hi tech industry, probably more than anyone else. Their biggest innovation is to create a UI that people actually like to use, they are masters of blending hardware and software into a perfect user experience.
        prof123
      • change ?

        @goff256 apple's products have not changed the world, their marketing campaign has. they are only revolutionary when they sell products .. and they only sell products that are well marketed and perceived as luxury when it takes $80 to manufacture a $400 device and you sell it like its worth $600, then tell the public the price is as low as we(apple) can get it .... just a bunch of marketing sharks, the innovation comes from the massive graphics designers who have carved out a "sexy" iphone chassis for the luxurious look, but basic functionality.
        nijee