Open Letter to Steve Jobs
Dear Mr Jobs:
Some of my friends have thought you’d be reveling in the recent travails of the BlackBerry in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Me on the other hand, believe that you prefer to compete fairly on the basis of user experience and coolness and not on the basis of some draconian totalitarian government’s views of where the security holes for mobile products and services ought to be. You and I both know that these governments want to control the messages and the minds of their citizens and the secure transmission of email and instant messages thwarts their heavy-handed censorship goals and practices for the benefit of mankind.
Sure, they wrap themselves in the anti-terrorist rhetoric all the while clamping down on political speech, women’s rights and religious freedoms.
Steve, I think you and I can agree that this attack on BlackBerry is an attack on the freedom of speech and thought. In these circumstances, an attack on any one innovator in this market is an attack on all of them. I hope you will support RIM by wading into this debate by refusing to officially introduce your company’s innovations into these backwater markets until a free competitive environment is restored. This will work to your long-term advantage too. Although the absence of BlackBerry may improve your marketshare in these two small markets, your beloved iPhone and company may very well be the target the next time.
Jim Lazaridis, co-CEO of RIM is cited in this Wall Street Journal article (August 5, 2010) about the BlackBerry band is more about censorship on the Internet. He argues that maybe Saudi Arabia and the UAE should ban the Internet completely. The big issue he thinks is that these national telecom regulators don’t understand how the Internet works and offered to teach them.
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