I’ll admit to lobbing a few mortars at RIM (alright, maybe more than a few), but it looks like things may be even worse than expected. BGR reported earlier today that RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis lied about the the reason their first BlackBerry 10 devices would be delayed even later into 2012.
Lazaridis said during RIM’s recent earnings call that they were waiting for a specific dual-core LTE chipset to be available before their new BlackBerrys would see the light of day in late 2012. It was a strange announcement, considering that RIM has never really fared well in the specs arms race, although they I don’t blame them for trying. What I do blame them for is dragging their feet when it comes to innovation, but that’s a story for another time.
The chipset situation may have been a ruse, if BGR’s high-level source is to be believed. According to him, the real situation behind the delay is even more dire — the devices in question may not even exist yet.
”RIM is simply pushing this out as long as they can for one reason,” the source said. “They don’t have a working product yet.”
It’s a serious accusation to level at RIM, and if it’s true, then they may have already sealed their own fate.
Or did they? RIM has just now weighed in on these claims, and their response is pretty much exactly what you’d expect. When it comes to the notion that the company’s first new BlackBerrys are essentially vaporware, RIM flatly denied the rumor:
“As explained on our earnings call, the broad engineering impact of this [chipset] decision and certain other factors significantly influenced the anticipated timing for the BlackBerry 10 devices. The anonymous claim suggesting otherwise is inaccurate and uninformed.”
There we have it, straight from the horse’s mouth: it’s a parts problem. The release goes to say that the chipset in question is “required to deliver a world class user experience” and that “any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.”
Of course, even if the claims were true, RIM wouldn’t broadcast the news of their failure to every media outlet with a pulse. They’d do — well, they’d do exactly what they’re doing now. They would deny everything, and (hopefully) get in gear behind closed doors to make sure none of this gloom-and-doom forecasting ends up being right.
Ultimately, I doubt that either side is offering the entire truth. Information Week points out that the leak could be the work of a disgruntled RIM employee, and RIM’s PR team would do their best to manage a situation like this before it led to another crisis for an already-beleaguered company. Things inside RIM may be even worse than we know, but if they can succeed in delivering a user experience that’s worth waiting for, all of this he-said-they-said business will have been for nothing.
Let’s just hope the longer wait pays off.