BlackBerry Product Manager Too Terrified And Superstitious To Say The Word ‘iPhone’

What IS that thing on the left?

What IS that thing on the left?

RIM’s European managing director, Stephen Barnes, was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 this morning about the new BlackBerry 10 system and phones coming down the line.

The host of the interview repeatedly asks direct, clear questions about what RIM has learned from Apple’s iPhone.

Barnes hilariously refuses to even acknowledge the word iPhone, let alone that RIM has obviously taken several pages from Apple’s smartphone book. Even, worse, he sounds scared.

Here’s a short transcript of the first minute or so of the interview. You can find an embed of the audio and a short YouTube clip of a different interview with Barnes on The Verge.

BBC Interviewer: What have you learned from Apple?

Stephen Barnes: So, BlackBerry is a unique proposition in terms of the proposition we’ve got. We’ve got round about 7 – 8 million customers who love the BlackBerry experience, and we’re taking the essence of that experience and moving it forward.

Have you learned anything from the iPhone?

This market is a great market. There’s a change–

I’m just wondering, you know, technologically. It’s a pretty straight question: have you?

So, so so. BlackBerry was one of the inventors of the smartphone market. You know, we helped shape the smartphone market for what it is today. We’re at the bridge of a new transformation where we see it going from mobile communications to this mobile computing world. And we saw that our existing BlackBerries would not give us the power to drive this new market.

Ok, but obviously the iPhone is your main competitor. You all learn from each other. What have you learned from the iPhone?

The key focus with the BlackBerry 10 is to deliver a new unique user experience.

So you haven’t learned anything from the iPhone you’re saying.

It just continues from there, with the hosts asking pointed questions, using the word iPhone, and even going so far as to accuse Barnes of reading from a press release. The poor man can’t manage to say, ‘iPhone,’ though, staying agonizingly on message throughout.

Poor RIM–a head that far buried in the sand is in no place to capture an already matured market, no matter how great the technology or current customer base.

  • ScotHibb

    Freaking hilarious!!!

    What they’re not addressing is the only thing that people ever say they miss about their BlackBerry…the raised, easy to type keys (and the simpleton, limited navigation only conducive for Outlook email).

    For the past 14 years I have been forced to carry two cell phones…one for work and one personal. I FINALLY moved to an advertising firm that lets me sync my iPhone 5 with the work servers so I don’t need a second phone (and they toss me $75/month to do it even)! For most of the past decade that second “phone” has been many models of BlackBerry. I have to admit, BEFORE Smart Phones started to have full keypads, I was so used to the CrackBerry’s keypad that I didn’t like the first iPhone I purchased.

    At one point my company upgraded us to the BlackBerry Pearl and I hated the keypad, but then the Curve was given to us and my CrackBerrying was back in full swing. I am now freed from having to carry a BlackBerry and I am happier than I’ve ever been.

    BlackBerry is going to lose a ton of business from private users if they stop producing their raised key keypad models. And it’s not taking the corporate world to embrace the iPhone…I know of 4 large pharmaceutical companies that have switched over and now give their employees iPhones and iPads.

  • iSteve

    The name should have blackburry…because they are going to die sooner…

  • Cortney Sauk

    I’d have to agree with whoever accused him of reading from a press release. Those answers all sound as if they were rehearsed for specific questions, some even being vague enough that they are fallback answers for unexpected questions. I wouldn’t put all the blame on Stephen Barnes though. I’m sure RIM, opps I mean Blackberry (WTF!?) forced him to use the answers that their, obviously crappy, PR firm wrote for him.

  • lymenlee

    This is brutal…

  • robert_walter

    If bb can’t make a compelling argument for why their approach is better they are going to lose their remaining customers. If you can’t talk head to head about your key competitor, and show advantage, you are either an idiot, soon to be dead, or both.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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