TORONTO (Reuters) - It took a child to stump the creators of the BlackBerry, one of the world’s top selling smartphones and a part of most executives’ attire.
“Are you going to make a phone more for kids so that my Mom will let me get one?” the child said from the packed audience at the annual general shareholders’ meeting at Canada’s Research in Motion on Tuesday.
The world’s No. 2 smartphone maker has so far aimed its near-ubiquitous BlackBerry mobile phone mostly at executives, with U.S. President Obama being its highest-profile user.
The child’s question met with hums and haws by RIM Co-Chief Executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis before they summoned up a vague response.
“There’s lots of opportunity and, you know, if the current BlackBerries aren’t acceptable to your mother, hopefully the next ones will,” Lazaridis said.
The interaction was striking in light of a recent research note written by 15-year-old Matthew Robson, an intern at Morgan Stanley, on “How Teenagers Consume Media,” which caused a stir after it was published by the bank.
At the otherwise uneventful shareholder meeting, RIM said it was advancing its campaign to win over more people to its devices, which includes sponsorship of the U2 360 Tour by one of the world’s most popular rock bands ever.
The RIM CEOs said they spent the last 25 years, since RIM was founded, catering to highly demanding industries, and for three years to the general consumer market.
Reporting by Pav Jordan; Editing by Richard Chang