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Nokia & RIM Not Pleased By Apple's Arguments

July 17, 2010

As you can imagine, having your products' weak spots pointed out on stage by Steve Jobs isn't particularly pleasant. Unfortunately, that's what happened to a couple companies yesterday. To make its point against the Antennagate, Apple showed that some other smartphones suffer from the death grip issue as well.

Some of these cell phone makers who ended up on Steve's slides are now reacting and of course, they're very upset. First RIM, the Blackberry folks:

“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. - Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie”
Then Nokia, which I don't remember getting a mention, but they do some "smartphones" as well:
"Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core competence at Nokia for decades, across hundreds of phone models. Nokia was the pioneer in internal antennas; the Nokia 8810, launched in 1998, was the first commercial phone with this feature. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on. As you would expect from a company focused on connecting people, we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict. In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That's why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design."
All in all, Steve did try to be nice about it, but there was an element of comparative advertising in yesterday's keynote. It seems like Apple justifies it by saying that as an industry leader, it's their role to educate people. Still, I don't think it makes it right. Your products should defend themselves and comparisons should be left to the media. Well, that's assuming the media does its job. Something Apple might not believe anymore... Anyway, what's your take on this?

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