IN AN INTERVIEW Stephen Bates, the European MD of Research in Motion (RIM) fought off a persistent attempt by a BBC interviewer to find out "what went wrong" with Blackberry.
RIM, in case you missed it, was a glorious player in the smartphone market before people embraced the iPhone and then Android handsets. RIM still kicks around though and is rather keen to talk about Blackberry 10, its upcoming mobile operating system upgrade.
The BBC, though, was keen in a different way, and in a television interview all it wanted to do was pick at RIMs bone's and try to come away with some flesh. There was no optimism about Blackberry 10 in its introduction, just the mention that RIM's market share has slipped "massively" in recent years.
The launch, which was the reason for the interview, has been delayed already, said the interviewer, and she asked, "Why?"
Bates was cool there, presumably fresh from media training and ready to explain that RIM has something special coming.
"The new [Blackberry 10] platform is right," he said. "We've been spending time with our customers." He said RIM as a company is "very excited".
Well, it seems like RIM can keep its excitement.
"It was meant to launch last year, so clearly something went wrong," was the next blow from the BBC Breakfast reporter. "You have a lot of catching up to do," was the next jab, and then, "[Blackberry's] global share fallen has from around 20 percent [to] six percent today."
Here, Bates said that people had forgotten that Blackberry has loyal users and that he was excited to bring them something different.
"You must admit, though," he was told, "Your share has fallen... What went wrong?"
Bates said he was "proud to be part of the industry", and again, he was asked "But what went wrong?"
He tried to rally himself with "Fundamentally, this is a great market...." But this was easily moved aside.
"But you still haven't told me what went wrong," was the obvious and firmly delivered counter.
"We are brave... We are out there," said Bates, to no avail.
And, that was it. His time to extol the virtues of Blackberry 10 on the BBC Breakfast stage was over.
And, as the interviewer said in closing, "We might never know what went wrong." µ