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Report: RIM didn't 'get' iPhone, Kik suit scaring off coders

updated 02:30 pm EDT, Tue March 15, 2011

RIM look shows failure to cope with iPhone, Kik

A new in-depth look into RIM (PDF) has revealed some of the insight into RIM's past and current struggles to compete with Apple. An anonymous former worker at the BlackBerry maker said it didn't understand the appeal of the iPhone. While the 2007 version was "badly flawed from day one" through a lack of core features, Reuters heard, RIM made presumptions about what users wanted that played mostly into its existing strengths in corporate environments while ignoring important app and interface elements for everyday users.

"They [at RIM] believed that users wanted great battery life, great security, great mail handling, minimal network use, and a great keyboard experience," the unnamed staffer said. "They never expected users didn't care."

RIM was reportedly pushed by early partner Robert Fraser to develop a larger screened phone with mobile web access as far back as 2005 but met with resistance from co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.

While unlikely to ever be confirmed by RIM, the comments mirrored earlier ones that suggested RIM was mostly dismissive of the iPhone. When it was first unveiled but before it could be torn down, RIM thought the iPhone was technically impossible but later learned that Apple had just found a better way to design a touchscreen phone.

The company has also encountered some of the first fallout from its decision to block and sue Kik for competing with BlackBerry Messenger. At least one developer, Blue Planet Apps, decided to drop all development for BlackBerry to focus on Android and Windows Phone. Founder Jason Braverman expected that RIM would not only block a messaging app Blue Planet had been writing but would try to punish the firm in court and copy any new ideas.

"They would have shut us down and then they would have sued us and probably gone
a little crazy trying to figure out how we did it," he said, adding that the BlackBerry platform as a while didn't appear to have "anything interesting" in the near future.

Kik was started by former RIM developer Ted Livingston as a way of providing a BlackBerry Messenger-like experience that wasn't tied to one phone. RIM initially celebrated Kik at developer conferences and on BlackBerry App World, but it quickly turned on Livingston when it realized the app would help users eager to move to Android or the iPhone.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is poised to be competitive with the iPad 2 in tablets and to have a much more varied development environment that supports 3D games and other features that weren't an option before. Complaints have still emerged that the process is too expensive and poorly documented, while RIM only just began lifting obscure requirements such as verified personal ID to be allowed in as a BlackBerry app developer. [via SAI]

By Electronista Staff


  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001



    I knew that iPhone was going to crush RIM but I didn't anticipate they were so clueless

    looks like Mr. Balsillie might need to stop trying to bring home an NHL team and instead focus on saving his company.

  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2002


    Users still want...

    "They [at RIM] believed that users wanted great battery life, great security, great mail handling, minimal network use, and a great keyboard experience"

    They just want that and more... great battery life is something to brag about. There were lots of occasions when my iPhone 3G/3GS died while I was on the road. RIM has a solid product under the hood they just have the same problem everyone else does poor UI.

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