BGR have a story, citing a ‘trusted source’, that says that RIM are pressuring carriers into approving new devices that are buggy and would normally be rejected and sent back for fixing. RIM are taking hit after hit at the moment, with their recent first quarter earnings announcement simply putting on paper what everyone perceived was happening anyway – RIM aren’t selling devices.
RIM has been putting an enormous amount of pressure on carriers to approve the upcoming BlackBerry smartphones like the BlackBerry Bold 9900 — phones that have to hold RIM over until its next-generation platform launch in 2012 — and that certain carriers will be approving the devices, “no matter what — with bugs and problems.” Additionally, RIM is putting huge pressure on its internal engineers to deliver Technical Acceptance bundles even when there are serious problems with the OS. In short, RIM is pushing unfinished OS builds from its engineers to the carriers, and demanding that the carriers approve them.
RIM are clearly in a desperate position, sales and profits are down, market share is diminishing, senior execs are leaving in droves and their entry into the tablet space, the Playbook, has had mediocre reviews at best and its reliance on a Blackberry handset for core PIM functions worries me. The Playbook v1 won’t be saving RIM and their new handsets aren’t due until 2012 which leaves a long cold 2011 for them to try and survive by getting out minor improvements to their ageing line of handsets.
I’m not sure why the carriers would play ball though? Its of no benefit to them to have poor performing handsets out there on their network, perhaps there is an additional threat of being blocked out of future RIM handsets, or at least receive them after other networks have had them exclusively first. The problem is the word exclusive and RIM are moving further and further apart.
Not all the carriers are playing ball however, O2 here in the UK have refused to take on the Playbook with a leaked internal email making reference to a ‘poor user experience’ as the reason. O2 quite clearly had exactly the kind of internal acceptance testing issues that the BGR source intimated to. However O2 are unfortunately one of the few networks with the end user experience in mind, as shown last month with the eventual release of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play due to bugs and unreliable performance, but long after other networks had shoved it out the door with a clean bill of health.