The co-CEOs of BlackBerry developers Research In Motion, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, have accused Steve Jobs of unacceptable behaviour and Apple of avoiding responsibility for its design mistakes. "RIM's customers don't need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity" they say. Meanwhile Nokia insists that it will "prioritize antenna performance over physical design" every time, in a clear dig at the iPhone development process.
It was only a matter of time before the sticky stiff hit the fan following the Apple iPhone 4 press conference yesterday during which Steve Jobs first claimed all phones had antenna weak spots and demonstrated this using a BlackBerry, before handing out free cases and then declaring there was no problem with the iPhone antenna design at all.
Steve Jobs was plainly angered by the media reaction to consumer complaints regarding signal loss, and keen to demonstrate how the way you hold a handset can impact upon the reception you get. Apple even has a whole section of the website devoted to comparing signal strength of handsets, complete with photos and videos by way of 'proof' that this is not just an iPhone 4 issue. But there is no doubt that Jobs also finished yesterday on an up, with the general media coverage being positive and welcoming of the free bumper case and offer of a refund.
It didn't take long for RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to respond , and respond with a fair degree of anger of their own of the following statement is anything to go by:
Apple's attempt to draw RIM into Apple's self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple's claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public's understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple's difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM's customers don't need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.
RIM is not alone in hitting back, we've already seen comment from Nokia on the matter for example. A Nokia statement insists that the company will always "prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict" and, in another dig at Apple, says "Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying human behaviour, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on".
Of course, not everyone is kicking Steve Jobs while he is up. Jonathan Mann wrote a song about the whole iPhone 'death grip' saga, essentially saying that if you don;t like the iPhone 4 then don't buy one, and if you've already bought one and hate it then take it back, but otherwise shut the heck up. His iPhone Antenna Song was largely ignored when uploaded to YouTube, but not by someone at Apple. It was the first thing that greeted members of the press at that official Apple conference yesterday, played in full big screen glory for the world to see.
You can watch the iPhone Antenna Song video here if you missed it...