RIM hits back at Apple’s ‘reality distortion field’
Jim Balsillie, chief executive of Research in Motion, the Canadian company behind the BlackBerry, believes there is a market for smaller tablet computers, despite Apple’s claims.
During a quarterly earnings call on Monday, Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, provoked the ire of rivals by claiming that 7in tablet computers were so small as to be unusable, and that the category would be “dead on arrival”.
It prompted Jim Balsillie, Research in Motion’s chief executive, to respond with a blog post in which he criticised Apple’s “reality distortion field”.
He said that the iPad’s lack of Flash support meant it didn’t fulfil the needs of customers, and that Apple was only telling people “half the story”.
RIM has recently unveiled the PlayBook, it’s answer to the iPad, which uses a 7in display and supports Adobe Flash.
“For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we known that 7in 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,” wrote Balsillie.
“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 websites that use Flash.
“We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple. 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.”
Balsillie also used the blog post to set the record straight regarding the number of devices Research in Motion had shipped in the most recent financial quarter.
Jobs claimed that Apple had sold 14.1 million iPhones during that period, compared to the 12.1 million BlackBerry devices sold by RIM in their most recent quarter, ending in August.
“RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 to14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter,” wrote Balsillie.
“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.”
Steve Jobs singled out RIM in his conference call, stating that he didn’t see RIM catching up with Apple in the “foreseeable future”, and warned that the Canadian company must “move beyond its area of strength and comfort, in to 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 a third software platform after iOS and Android,” said Jobs. “RIM has a high mountain ahead of them to climb.”