Blackberry’s Euro MD Bates ignores iPhone questioning on BBC Radio 5Live

Blackberry 10 is released in the UK today but the new smartphone OS is off to a rocky start after an excruciating interview on BBC Radio 5Live Breakfast.

RIM’s European MD Stephen Bates was repeatedly asked by host Nicky Campbell what the company has learnt from Apple’s iPhone. Bates’ unwillingness to answer – or even acknowledge – the question led to a painful three minutes.

The saddest part is that even after his three minutes in the spotlight Bates left potential customers with no idea as to what the new OS offers.

Here’s the transcript. Audio can be accessed on iPlayer.

Nicky Campbell: What have you learned from Apple?

Stephen Bates: So Blackberry is a unique proposition. In terms of the proposition we’ve got, we’ve got roundabout 79 million customers who love the Blackberry experience so we’re taking the essence of that Blackberry experience and moving it forward.

NC: Have you learned anything from Apple?

SB: This market is a great market. There’s a change…

NC: I’m just wondering, technologically. It’s a pretty straight question. Have you?

SB: So so so… Blackberry was one of the inventors of the smartphone market. Y’know, we’ve helped shape what the smartphone market is today and we’re at the bridge of a new transformation where we see it from going from mobile communications, there’s mobile computing. We saw that and with our existing Blackberries that would not give us the power to drive this new, this new market.

(Financial reporter Andy Verity): But obviously the iPhone is your main competitor

NC: You all learn from each other. What have you learned from the iPhone?

SB: The key focus around Blackberry 10 that we’ve really driven to is delivering a new unique user experience.

AV: So you haven’t learned anything from the iPhone, you’re saying?

SB: So fundamentally…

NC: A new unique user experience sounds a little bit like you’re reading from a press release. I’m wondering, you all learn from each other, ‘that’s a good idea, that’s a good idea’. And one of the things about the iPhone, which has its faults – they all have their faults – is that it’s very incredibly user friendly, you can bounce around it. What have you learned from it?

SB: So so so… we’ve spent the last with Blackberry 10 engaging our customers, consumers, our business customers, the developers, our partners and we’ve been interacting about what the new BB will deliver and the feedback’s bneen amazing around… fundamentally this…

AV: OK, you’re clearly not answering that question. But what about, what about… sell it to us then. You’re here so sell it to us. What are the features of this new BB that you didn’t have or you won’t have with other smartphones whether it’s iPhone or Samsung or whatever?

SB: The selling of Blackberry 10… the details are going to be out today and we’ve got, we’ve managed to find a way to transition the essence of what a Blackberry is about. Blackberry is fundamentally about being the best communications device and we’ve brought that forward into this computing world to deliver a unique user experience that will be faster, smarter and more crucially what matters to people who we know want a Blackberry is that it’s going to adapt for you. We’ve found a really unique proposition about how we transition this world of the business user and us as consumers because we are all, like myself…

NC: You what? How we transition?

SB: So how we can live together

NC: Change you mean?

SB: So I’m a… I’m a businessman but I’ve also got, I’m a family man, I’ve got friends, my colleagues, and for me the transition between all those things is important to deliver a solution and we’ve got a really special new unique capability called BB Balance where you can deliver what you need from a business, er, performance, providing security, protection of your data but also to do all the things you want to do around apps and browsing and content and multimedia. This is a really exciting day. We’ve got lots of customers in the UK, we’ve got around eight million customers around the UK who are excited and are looking forward to today to see what we’re going to deliver.

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