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RIM Executive Fires Back At Apple CEO Jobs

October 20, 2010

One day after Steve Jobs claimed that the Apple iPhone was outselling the BlackBerry handset, and that Research In Motion’s (RIM) forthcoming PlayBook and tablet computers like it would be “dead on arrival,” RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie fired back at the Apple co-founder and chief executive in a heated blog post on Tuesday.

“For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7-inch 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,” Balsillie wrote. “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,” he added.

Balsillie also took umbrage with Jobs’ comparison of sales figures for the two companies’ competing smartphones. During a conference call, Jobs reported that Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones in its last quarter, “handily” outselling the BlackBerry during the quarter.

However, Balsillie points out that RIM’s financial quarter ended nearly a month earlier than Apple’s–August 28 for RIM, September 25 for Apple–and that Jobs’ statistics didn’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.”

“RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters,” he added. “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.”

The BlackBerry PlayBook, which is due in 2011, features a seven-inch, high-definition LCD screen with 1024×600 resolution. It will weigh less than a pound and will have a touch screen, a built-in microUSB connector, front and rear-facing cameras, and Wi-Fi capabilities. The device runs on an operating system developed by QNX technology.

According to AFP, Jobs, during his conference call, dismissed devices the size of the PlayBook, calling them “tweeners” and saying that they were “too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.” He also said that pricing, screen resolution, and the amount and types of applications available would give his company’s iPad the edge over the competition.

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