RIM is black-burying carriers with half-baked BlackBerrys

Launching new products is always difficult. Launching new products with hundreds of different carriers is exponentially more difficult. Apparently there is an easy way and a hard way to do things, however, and RIM has been making carriers offers they can’t refuse. BGR has learned from a trusted source that RIM has been strong-arming several carriers, essentially forcing them to approve devices they normally would not move through the Technical Acceptance phase.

Here is how it works: once an OS software build (bundle) has been tested internally at RIM, and the OS performs well, it moves up to be a Technical Acceptance candidate. The OS is then sent to the carrier to test and approve, or test and reject. If a carrier rejects a build, it can take weeks to get a new build tested and approved, and it can slow down a device’s release by months — as evidenced many times with different BlackBerry products in the past.

What’s the problem, then? We have been informed by a very reliable source at a major carrier that 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.

The thing is, this isn’t something new, and it’s part of the reason your BlackBerry is so buggy, reboots randomly, and there are possible signal and connection issues. There have been multiple devices, we have been told, that have been forced through the Technical Acceptance process with multiple carriers, and it’s one of the reasons some carriers launch devices sooner than others (barring any exclusivity arrangements) — some play ball but others won’t. Remember how Rogers was one of the first carriers to launch the BlackBerry Bold 9000 while AT&T didn’t launch the device until November? The device constantly failed Technical Acceptance on AT&T, but Rogers pushed the device out anyway as a result of pressure from RIM. And Rogers is most certainly not the only carrier that has found itself in that position.

Spokespeople from RIM and Rogers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An AT&T spokesperson declined to comment.

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