Q&A with RIM VP on the first BlackBerry Developer Conference

I had a chance to harass RIM’s VP of Global Alliances, Jeff McDowell, shortly after he was getting off the plane here in Santa Clara for the BlackBerry Developer Conference. Without remorse for his jetlag or lack of sleep, he was pummeled immediately with a barrage of questions regarding the show’s performance, its necessity, and other biting questions. The only mercy we spared him was not throwing in the raw audio for this week’s podcast. Don’t think you’ll get off so easy next time, McDowell…

Q: Let’s start off with the origins… At what point did RIM decide that they needed to have a developer conference?

A: We’ve been running the ISV Alliance program for about 6 years now, where we’ve provided a lot of hands-on support of technical developement, business development and marketing to ISV or commercial programmers (companies that build BlackBerry applications or services), and we’ve been extremely supportive of that community. When RIM made that transition from primarily an enterprise device to being a device that anybody wants to use, all of a sudden we had an explosion in the areas of more consumer-based applications (personal productivity, travel, games, etc.).

That’s been going on for about two years, and we started supporting our community in a similar way as the ISV program, but realized very quickly that we need a better, broad-based program in place that serves the needs of this community in a much more diverse way. The needs of this community is similar in some ways to enterprise technical support, but different types of APIs are popular, UI is different, the size of the companies we’re working with is different, so we needed to put a more comprehensive program in place to address a broader development community, and that’s what we’re doing now.

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