BGR.com is reporting that Research In Motion has been “strong-arming” carriers to approve devices currently going through the Technical Acceptance phase. Some carriers are apparently bending to the pressure and about to sign off “no matter what – with bugs and problems,” allowing them to be among the first to offer these new devices.
The Technical Acceptance phase follows RIM’s own internal operating system testing and gives carriers a chance to validate for themselves that operating systems and devices are ready for launch. If they are not, RIM (or whatever device manufacturer) must then address the concerns, a process that can take a number of weeks and likely delay a device’s launch.
While carriers are likely always under pressure from manufacturers to sign off on the Technical Acceptance phase to prepare for a device launch, BGR’s “very reliable source at a major carrier” suggests that RIM has been applying “an enormous amount of pressure” on carriers to approve its upcoming devices, including the BlackBerry Bold 9900 which has been delayed to late summer or fall. RIM is apparently pushing its own internal engineers to sign off as well. As BGR points out: “In short, RIM is pushing unfinished OS builds from its engineers to the carriers, and demanding that the carriers approve them.”
BGR also points out that this is not new. Rogers apparently launched the BlackBerry Bold 9000 months ahead of AT&T as it gave in to pressure from RIM whereas AT&T held off as the device failed its own Technical Acceptance.
RIM, which reported a disappointing quarter last week, is under tremendous pressure to release new devices to carry it over until 2012 when it should be able to launch its first QNX-powered smartphones. Assuming that these allegations are accurate, RIM cannot be doing itself any favours by alienating new and existing customers with devices not ready for prime time. Such a strategy could accelerate the loss of customers to competing platforms as it scrambles to turn its fortunes around.
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