Letter to the editor: RIM CEO defends his ‘shameful’ smartphone

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Thorstein Heins

So, what happens when you run an article about how BlackBerry users are too embarrassed to be seen in public with their phones, for fear of “shame and public humiliation”? You receive a calmly worded letter from the company’s CEO.

Yes, Research in Motion CEO Thorsten Heins personally replied to the New York Times’ “BlackBerry as black sheep” article which included interviews with BlackBerry owners talking about how they hide their devices under their iPads and have to use their partners’ Android and Apple phones to access popular apps like Yelp and OpenTable.

In his letter to the editor, Heins says the piece “lacks balance”, describes how there are millions of happy BlackBerry customers worldwide and points out that BlackBerry 10 (RIM’s new OS) has been well-received by those who’ve had access to it ahead of its launch early next year. He also takes the time to point out that apps for Yelp and OpenTable actually are available in BlackBerry App World… awkward.

The full letter reads:

“BlackBerry as Black Sheep in Smartphones” (Business Day, Oct. 16) lacks the balance your readers expect.

With more than 80 million customers globally, BlackBerry is growing and remains one of the world’s most popular smartphones. I’ve just come from visiting carriers and partners in all parts of the world, and they have told me that there are millions of BlackBerry fans out there who not only find great value in their device, but also pride in being a BlackBerry owner.

While any report of dissatisfaction among our users is a cause for concern that I take very seriously, the comments supporting BlackBerry both online and in calls we’ve received from our customers in response to your article are encouraging to me.

BlackBerry remains the leader in providing security for corporate customers, which is why more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500 rely on BlackBerry. It’s true that some companies put restrictions on accessing certain applications for security reasons, but applications like Yelp and OpenTable are, in fact, among the approximately 100,000 apps available in BlackBerry AppWorld.

We’ve received excellent feedback from carriers, developers and partners for our upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform and are on track to deliver it in the first quarter of 2013. We appreciate the customers who have remained loyal to the BlackBerry platform and look forward to winning back many who have left.

THORSTEN HEINS
President and Chief Executive
Research In Motion
Waterloo, Ontario, Oct. 16, 2012

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