RIM recently announced that the company had shipped its 50-millionth device since 1999. Meanwhile, Apple has shipped 30 million iPhone and iPod touch devices in two years. Are you concerned that it has taken you this long to reach that milestone?
The fact is that nearly half of our devices were shipped in the last year! We continue to grow and the number of devices weíre selling is increasing. At the same time, the number of phones doesnít matter right now because weíre still at the beginning of the transition from feature phones to smart phones. Weíre kind of riding a wave thatís well below the surface. Why do you think youíve been able to surpass analystsí expectations? What have been some of the key ingredients for RIM maintaining its growth?
When the economy is challenged, people flee to trusted brands. BlackBerry is certainly a trustworthy brand. Thatís the key in this market
... How has RIM responded to user complaints since the Stormís launch?
We didnít stop and weíve never stopped. We just keep making our products better and better and better. Weíve got really passionate engineers here, and developers, and you know they want to win. They want to make the best products. They really want to make their customers happy with them. They want them to be delighted. Were you stung a bit when you read some of the negative reviews?
Quite frankly we are very open with our design teams. I hold vision meetings here where I go through reviews. I want to get everyone centered on the current reality out there. And we donít hold anything back, we really donít. In fact, we love to put more bad reviews on the screen than good reviews just to make the point. Because I want people to make the products better and this is all part of our continuous improvement program here
... What about multitasking? Does it take too much of a toll on battery life as Apple claims?
If you donít do it right. If you donít make the right trade-offs, you have what we call a catastrophic effect on battery life. Unlike voice, data usage is growing exponentially. There just never seems to be enough bandwidth for Internet-based applications. So all the optimizations and conservation techniques we have developed for the BlackBerry system over the years is now paying huge dividends to our subscribers and carrier partners. The fact is that the BlackBerry was designed to multitask from day one. I think our operating system has constantly been underestimated.
... How do you think RIM stacks up to the competition when it comes to your Web browser?
I look at it this way. I say that our browser technology was developed with very different requirements. By writing our browser in Java, that provides our CIOs and wireless managers the assurances they need, to allow the browser to access internal information at the same time it accesses external information. So the overriding design criteria for our browser has been to not compromise on that experience in the enterprise phase.
That being said, we have come a long way in offering a full Web browsing experience, now that we have larger, high-resolution screens, faster processors and faster download speeds. Weíve always been very careful and very sensitive to network bandwidth, battery life, screen size, screen real estate, and how we display Web content. Thereís no reason why our technology canít keep getting better and better. What kind of response have you received thus far from users of BlackBerry App World?
Itís been wildly positive. Yesterday I was having dinner with my parents and my dad downloaded a golf game right there right there at the dinner table! When it has that kind of an impact to that generation, you know that itís a success in anyoneís book. ...