Americans losing addiction to "CrackBerrys"

Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:12pm EST
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Alistair Barr and Sinead Carew

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - To understand what ails BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd in the U.S. market, just ask eBay Inc Chief Executive John Donahoe.

The world's biggest online auction site had about a hundred engineers developing new iterations of eBay's shopping app for Apple Inc's iPhone a few months ago, and another hundred engineers working on Google Inc's Android mobile platform.

EBay even had 50 people developing apps for Microsoft's Windows phones, but the e-commerce giant only had "one or two" working on RIM's BlackBerry, according to Donahoe.

"I still use the BlackBerry, but it's not the most developer-friendly platform," he told a group of chief technology officers at an event at Stanford University in June, when the subject of RIM came up.

By early November, it seemed Donahoe wasn't even using his BlackBerry much any more. When he met with reporters to talk about plans for the holiday shopping season, the CEO whipped out his iPhone to show how eBay's apps ran on the device. When Reuters asked Donahue about his BlackBerry, he said he still had it but didn't bother to bring it into the room.

Such stories are commonly found among RIM's once-loyal corporate and consumer customers, who are deserting the Canadian company after it has struggled to keep up with competitors' innovations.

RIM on Thursday posted a sharply lower quarterly profit, offered a dismal forecast for BlackBerry shipments this holiday season, and delayed the arrival of new phones using a make-or-break operating system in development, QNX.

"It's frustrating because I haven't heard anything good from them in a long time," said long-time BlackBerry user Kevin Nichols, the head of KLN Consulting Group, who was looking at Android and Windows phones at a Sprint Nextel Corp store in downtown San Francisco on Friday.   Continued...