Verizon CEO says BlackBerrys are closed but stable

Dan just linked us up to an interview with Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, which was mainly addressing Google and the open access spectrum. The conversation brought McAdam to say a few interesting things to say about his BlackBerry 8830.

On an open ecosystem, he says: “If you look at the example of our content, when we first opened up, we had a completely walled garden. We have been bringing that wall down and opening up more applications. The balance is you have to keep the customer in the equation. It’s not just up to the Microsofts or the Intels or the carriers to make the decision. I carry a BlackBerry 8830. That device is one of the most closed devices on the market today. It’s also one of the most popular. Customers can rely on it. Return rates are single digits, 1 to 3 percent. You can put anything you want on some open smart-phones. What would you guess are the return rates on a comparable device to the BlackBerry, with open applications?..Over 40 percent. You can’t predict how applications are going to interact in the real world. It sounds really good. How can a developer of a device predict how those applications are going to interact in the real world? It’s back to the fact that they’re complicated computers and it’s not always predictable.”

A buddy was showing me some of the stuff he could do on a Windows Mobile device the other day, and I could see how BlackBerrys seem closed in comparison, but as Dan notes, there’s still plenty of 3rd-party software available out there. And c’mon - “one of the most closed devices on the market today”? That might be pushing it. What do you guys think - are BlackBerrys closed platforms, or open just enough?

Comments [6 Responses]

November 20th, 2007 at 9:42 am

With the iPhone on the market?

Is this a trick question?

November 20th, 2007 at 1:43 pm

The BlackBerry is not a closed platform and developer support is very good. Now, the 8830 on VZ - that’s much more closed than its Sprint counterpart. Sprint has been good about allowing access to GPS, etc, while VZ has opted to keep that portion hidden from non-partners. They essentially cripple the device, and probably don’t like that you can even OTA to it. Remember that many of their phones run Brew, which is highly restrictive.

Chad Garrett
November 20th, 2007 at 9:31 pm

Closed? This is why the mobile phone market sucks in America- idiots like this guy are running them. Apple and Google, please help us!

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