T-Mobile on Friday issued a new statement to the press, reasserting its belief that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA will ultimately be approved. Last week, attorneys general from seven states joined the United Stated Department of Justice’s lawsuit attempting to block the $39 billion deal. The DOJ’s suit argues that the takeover would eliminate T-Mobile as “an independent, low- priced” wireless option for U.S. consumers, adding that it would also remove a great deal of competition from a market already dominated by giant telcos. T-Mobile’s senior vice president of government affairs Tom Sugrue disagrees, obviously, and he says the merger will benefit consumers rather than harm them. “Given the numerous benefits the merger will bring to consumers, businesses, and the US economy in the form of greater innovation, enhanced competition, and increased jobs, we remain confident that the facts will prevail and the acquisition will proceed,” Sugrue said in a statement to the press. AT&T and T-Mobile have made consistent arguments in favor of the deal since it was first proposed but the companies have a long battle ahead, with opponents that now include Sprint, multiple U.S. states and the U.S. government.
In response to a report published by BGR earlier today, Research In Motion confirmed that it has no plans to discontinue its Wi-Fi BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in favor of newer models expected to launch this fall. RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky cited an OTR Global report in a note to investors on Monday that said RIM may be canceling the QNX-based tablet based partially on weak sales. Abramsky speculated that such a move might also allow RIM to focus on the 4G PlayBook and its upcoming next-generation QNX smartphones. “Pure fiction. No plan to discontinue,” RIM said to BGR from its official BlackBerry Twitter account. “In fact, WiFi PlayBook is launching in new countries practically every week.” RIM stated on its earnings call in mid-June that 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets had been shipped in the fiscal first quarter. More →
RIM on Thursday released its response to an open letter published exclusively by BGR. The letter, which was written by a senior RIM executive, pleads with the company’s upper management to make some drastic changes if it is to regain the mind share and market share it has lost in recent years. After questioning the authenticity of the letter — and we assure you, it is indeed genuine and its author has been vetted — RIM said the company is “fully aware of and aggressively addressing both the company’s challenges and its opportunities.” The response goes on to take an extremely defensive stance, listing various reasons that RIM is still in a strong position. The company also says its management is taking its current challenges seriously during this transitional period. “The company is thankfully in a solid business and financial position to tackle the opportunities ahead with a solid balance sheet (nearly $3 billion in cash and no debt), strong profitability (RIM’s net income last quarter was $695 million) and substantial international growth (international revenue in Q1 grew 67% over the same quarter last year). In fact, while growth has slowed in the US, RIM still shipped 13.2 million BlackBerry smartphones last quarter (which is about 100 smartphones per minute, 24 hours per day) and RIM is more committed than ever to serving its loyal customers and partners around the world,” the response concludes. RIM’s statement can be read below in its entirety.
RIM just reached out to us with a statement regarding our post from this morning in which we reported that a big box retailer provided us with information surrounding BlackBerry PlayBook sales and returns. RIM’s response is as follows:
The source of the reported comment is anonymous and unknown to RIM, but the comment is certainly inconsistent with the positive feedback we have received from our main retail partners. As previously indicated, RIM will provide a business update on BlackBerry PlayBook results on June 16.
For reference, here is a public statement recently offered by Best Buy:
“Best Buy has had great success selling BlackBerry smartphones in North America, so our sales expectations for the BlackBerry PlayBook were very high. To date, we have far exceeded those expectations and we’re finding that customers are even more interested in purchasing once they’ve tested the PlayBook in the store.”
While we appreciate RIM’s comment and we have no doubt that PlayBook sales at Best Buy have exceeded expectations, we stand by our source and our story from earlier today.
Foxconn on Monday issued a formal response to reports from last week claiming the Chinese electronics manufacturer makes its employees sign a document promising they will not commit suicide or hold the company liable if they do. “Foxconn does not ask its employees to sign any such documents, any reports to the contrary are inaccurate,” a Foxconn spokesperson said in a statement. The company also denied overworking its laborers. “Foxconn takes our responsibility to our employees very seriously and we work hard to give our more than one million employees in China a safe and positive working environment and compensation and benefits that are competitive with all of our industry peers,” the spokesperson said. “In all cases, our basic wages are amongst the highest in our industry in each location and they are significantly higher than the government-directed minimum wage which is set based on a review of the cost of living in those locations.” The statement continued, “All overtime is voluntary and workers are not penalized should they choose not to work overtime.” Foxconn, which manufactures consumer electronics for a variety of companies including Apple, HP, Nokia and Dell, has been scrutinized repeatedly over the past few years following the suicides of at least 17 factory workers. More →
We were alerted to a blog post on Kik’s site just moments ago, and it seems that Research In Motion has not only removed Kik Messenger from its App World portal, but it has also disabled push services for existing users. We reached out to RIM for comment and here is the company’s official statement:
RIM became aware of a number of issues and customer concerns regarding the Kik app and service. Following discussions with Kik, the app was removed from BlackBerry App World on November 12. Upon further investigation, RIM concluded that Kik had breached contractual obligations. Based on the broad scope and seriousness of the issues and concerns, RIM terminated its agreements with Kik and withdrew RIM’s support for Kik’s service.
AT&T released an official statement Wednesday regarding T-Mobile’s recent claims about 4G. AT&T’s problem was a bit different than ours… you know, that all 4G talk is bogus right now. Instead AT&T pointed out that T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network is in fact not the largest in the country. Instead, AT&T possesses the biggest HSPA+ network — and it will still have the biggest HSPA+ network when T-Mobile finishes its 2010 expansion. AT&T’s statement:
T-Mobile’s claims about 4G are based on the same HSPA+ technology we have deployed to 180 million people today, more than T-Mobile’s reported 140 million, and we’ll have it rolled out to 250 million people by the end of this month, substantially more than the 200 million T-Mobile says it will have by year-end.
AT&T also pointed out that T-Mobile’s claims about its HSPA+ network speeds are inaccurate. T-Mobile suggested that AT&T’s network has a 14.4Mbps ceiling — but AT&T said its HSPA+ is just as fast as T-Mobile’s network, with theoretical limits of 21Mbps. More →
Ahhh, the Nokia N900. You want it. You need it. You’ve got to have it. If you’re on T-Mobile you’re sitting pretty knowing that 1700 MHz is included in the N900’s three WCDMA bands, just waiting to gobble up T-Mobile’s 3G services. If you’re on AT&T in the US or Rogers up north however, the tears may still be streaming. A glimmer of hope found its way to light last week when rumors that a forthcoming 850/1900/2100 MHz WCDMA version were seemingly substantiated. We just spoke to Nokia however, and yeah… Not so much. Nokia’s official statement:
Regarding the Nokia N900, we have announced a tri-band WCDMA version that utilizes the 900/1700/2100 MHz networks. There have been no announcements regarding a version that supports the 850/1900/2100MHz bands.
As it turns out, The Nokia Blog’s tipster completely fabricated the last line of Nokia’s email — you know, the part that said, “An announcement will be forthcoming” — and the whole story is bogus. We suppose AT&T and Rogers subscribers might be able to keep hope alive considering Nokia still hasn’t flat out denied the possibility of a WCDMA 850/1900/2100 MHz version, but if you ask us it’s time to break out the Ben & Jerry’s and drown your sorrows.