AT&T approached RIM in 2010 about building an iPhone competitor

blackberry-storm-apple-iphone

AT&T apparently asked Research In Motion in 2010 to kindly build a competitor to the iPhone, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The dirty deed took place while Apple’s iPhone was still exclusively available on AT&T in the United States.

“We work with all device makers to bring the best products to market for our customers,” AT&T said in a statement. RIM added that the goal was simply to create “a differentiated, unique BlackBerry experience for AT&T customers.” That sounds great from a PR standpoint, but the real motive was AT&T’s fear that the iPhone would make Apple far too powerful in the mobile industry. Since RIM was king of this territory before the iPhone in 2007, it made for a good fighting partner. The carrier and the vendor worked on what would later become the BlackBerry Torch. Verizon, too, was fearful about the iPhone for other reasons and worked with RIM earlier to create the BlackBerry Storm.

Neither even came close to killing the iPhone. If anything, they set RIM back even further. Let’s fast forward to today.

Apple is the richest company on the face of the planet and the iPhone is the best-selling handset on the market. RIM just announced yesterday a lot of wacky numbers for last quarter that basically suggest an imminent doom: a net loss of $518 million, 5,000 jobs slashed, a forecast of only 7.8 million shipments this quarter, and a delay on BlackBerry 10 until 2013. Analysts have since laid out the company’s burial plot.

The carriers weren’t exactly left in the dark in their attempts to limit Apple’s power. Android has been doing pretty well and poses a threat that the BlackBerry was never able to. In the end, AT&T might have had the right idea, but the wrong partner.

[via AppleInsider]

  • http://twitter.com/DIGITALDREAMKID DIGITAL.DREAM.KID

    You keep forgetting that the BlackBerry platform has 79 million subscribers.  Always loooking at numbers that aren’t bad.  They still made over 2 billion in profit.  Apple is only rich in stock value if the stock crashes there goes the so called richest company.  How many people actually use an iphone? We know the numbers with BlackBerry and Android. Where are Apple’s numbers?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1640346817 Lav Verma

    Dirty deed!! seriously..AT&T wanted a competitor for iPhone so as to avoid being abused by a dominant Apple.
    I thought USA was all about competitive markets…LOL the hypocrisy.
    Just a question why are all the US tech sites so blinded by iPhone even though there are several phones that do all the stuff an iPhone can in a much better way and do somethings extra which the iPhone can’t and probably never will.Oh and not to mention not ripping consumers off by selling exclusive accessories and choosing to ignore standards of industry.

    • http://www.twitter.com/gtinari George Tinari

      No one’s blinded by anything. Not once did I even suggest the iPhone is better than the BlackBerry in this article, I stated it’s doing much better than the BlackBerry is in the market. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

      • lav verma

         Sadly yes it is a fact that Apple has more cash than any other mobile phone maker.But the choice of words”Dirty Deed” isn’t appropriate in my opinion.But as it is your piece the choice is your prerogative.
        And I am just curious to know why so many tech sites(not pointing fingers to anyone,please don’t take it in any other way) are such biased when it comes to Apple?
        Granted the screen looks pretty but the crippled functionality and the nature of customer Apple relationship(mind bogglingly abusive,forcing highly overpriced Apple exclusive accessories) should also figure in the reviews not to mention Apple’s weird habit of suing people left and rightat the drop of a hat over trivial issues like tab cover(seriously wtf).
        If RIM,Sony,Samsung,Nokia did what Apple does they would have gotten so much bad press.
        Would be interesting to see would this magic spell continue as Jobs is dead and gone or would it unravel slowly.

        • http://www.twitter.com/gtinari George Tinari

          We’re certainly not biased at all, nor are many other websites. There’s no reason to be. People have their own opinions and if a certain number of tech writers prefer Apple products, there’s no reason to consider that bias. Many prefer Android too.

          And “dirty deed” was used just because AT&T was going behind Apple’s back while they still had an exclusive partnership in place. I’m not sure if you thought I used it to show favoritism toward Apple, but that’s not what I meant.

          • lav verma

             True as a person you might have favorites but considering the fact that these tech sites are visited by people on lookout for new phones(spending hard earned money),being able to put preferences aside and be able to review gadgets based on functions is a must have.
            Just for comparison WP 7.xx has pretty much similar functionality/walled approach to iOS but it gets a whipping while Apple gets adulation.Granted they look different but looks is subjective functionality is more or less objective.
            My objection to “Dirty Deeds” is because Apple had agreed to sell iPhone exclusively on AT&T but did AT&T decide to sell only Apple?(Correct if I am wrong in my reasoning as I don’t live in USA hence have very limited knowledge of that market).If not then AT&T has every right to approach RIM

          • lav verma

             Anyways I call peace from my side,it is in the end your work and how you chose to word it is entirely your decision and I respect that. :)
            Peace out.

          • http://www.twitter.com/gtinari George Tinari

            It’s believed that Apple and AT&T had a contract that would make AT&T the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.S. for the given time period, which would make it a bit sneaky on AT&T’s part to quietly talk to others trying to churn up competition, in my opinion.

            Also, I recommend checking out our reviews section because we have lots of comprehensive Android and WP7 device reviews, many of which are quite favorable. :)

          • http://www.twitter.com/gtinari George Tinari

            It’s believed that Apple and AT&T had a contract that would make AT&T the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.S. for the given time period, which would make it a bit sneaky on AT&T’s part to quietly talk to others trying to churn up competition, in my opinion.

            Also, I recommend checking out our reviews section (http://www.intomobile.com/phones/) because we have lots of comprehensive Android and WP7 device reviews, many of which are quite favorable. :)

        • Walt Lonsdale

          You mean like PC World is biased toward Windows?

        • Anonymous

          “but the crippled functionality and the nature of customer Apple relationship(mind bogglingly abusive,forcing highly overpriced Apple exclusive accessories) should also figure in the reviews”

          Consumers vote with their money.  Clearly Apple’s customers don’t share your opinion – and an opinion is all you have to offer – or else Apple’s sales wouldn’t be what they are. 

          It really comes down to losers hate winners.  Microsoft used to be the target for such losers, and now it’s Apple. 

    • Anonymous

      Actually it’s not about the phones in general. It’s about getting as much money out of punters pockets with data-plans, calling-plans, sms-plans, whatever plan they can trick you in. The phone itself is just to lure you into it. The bait. And the more expensive the phone is or the more high-end the phone is perceived, the easier to lure people into their “plans”.

      There is a perfect good reason why smartphones that are more akin to pocket-computers are banned or belittled by the ‘market’. These don’t sell data-plans. 

  • Pavneet_rockin

    Dude.. Why are you so obsessed with Apple products? Running around on all tech sites and making derogatory comments on Apple? Get a life man!

  • Jarrod

    They probably wanted a BB competitor to the iPhone only for data compression reasons.

  • http://twitter.com/gasOLINEstation Caroline Teo

    Yeah, AT&T wanted to retain the RIM business segment which was lucrative while Apple has no offering on that front. Also, it appears Apple being arrogant about contractual matters that carriers did not really like. In many ways, it was AT&T trying to hedge their bets which did not turn out well due to the arrogance of the RIM CEOs. 
    Still it is good that Android has made so much progress as to really compete strongly with Apple while MS really goofed on the mobile front. BBos being a victim and so was Symbian, Meego, Limo, various Linux mobile OS which were half baked. Nokia’s Maemo did have a chance at the tablet front but they goofed as well. It shows how many execs are complete dim-wits in terms of choosing platforms. 

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