For those of you not following the Apple earnings-call soap opera, let us give you a brief recap. Yesterday, during the Cupertino company’s Q4 conference call, CEO Steve Jobs joined the broadcast to speak with investors — an uncommon but not unprecedented move. Jobs then began to take questions and throw verbal jabs at several industry players including Google, application maker TweetDeck, HTC, Motorola, and Research In Motion.
Google’s Andy Rubin responded to Jobs’ claim that Android’s “openness” was slang for “fragmented” with a comical tweet, as did TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth; Jobs insinuated that developing TweetDeck for Android was a “nightmare” due to the platform’s fragmentation. Motorola and HTC, who Jobs called out for “skinning” Android, have — up to this point — kept quiet. Who’s left? Research In Motion.
Mr. Jobs noted that Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones in its Q4 which was far more than RIM’s latest quarterly blowout of 12 million handsets. Having a flare for the dramatic, and — especially lately — not wanting to take any slack from Apple, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie released a statement in response to Jobs’ innuendoes. Some key takeaways from Mr. Balsillie’s publishing: there are people who live both inside and outside of “Apple’s distortion field,” people care about Adobe’s Flash, and 7-inch tablets are cool. Hit the jump to see the full rant-rebuttal from RIM’s Jim Balsillie.
For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7″ tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple. And by the way, RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 – 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter. Apple’s preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM’s August-ending quarter doesn’t tell the whole story because it doesn’t take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger than summer months, nor does it explain why Apple only shipped 8.4 million devices in its prior quarter and whether Apple’s Q4 results were padded by unfulfilled Q3 customer demand and channel orders. As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story.
– Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at Research In Motion (RIM)