RIM CEO Poopoos Need for Mobile Apps

Research In Motion CEO Jim Balsillie is publicly attacking Apple’s emphasis on an App experience of the Internet on its iOS mobile and tablet devices. At the Web 2.0 Summit, Mr. Balsillie said that they key to a good mobile device is a full Web browser that can access everything on the Web, including Flash sites, and that Apple has made the wrong choice by emphasizing, “There’s an app for that.”

“We believe that you can bring the mobile to the Web but you don’t need to go through some kind of control point of an SDK, and that’s the core part of our message,” Mr. Balsillie said, according to eWeek. “You don’t need an app for the Web [or to use a special defined set of development tools.]”

“So you reject the appification of the Web?” Summit host John Battelle asked Mr. Balsillie, who answered, “Correct.”

Mr. Balsillie’s comments come in the wake of Apple CEO Steve Jobs publicly dismissing RIM as credible competition going forward, and as his company works to bring its new Playbook tablet to market. The Playbook is a 7” device, a form factor that Mr. Jobs also attacked as being “tweener,” too small for a good user interface and too big to be a smartphone.

Apple has garnered a lot of mindshare and positive press for the enormous number of apps available on its iOS App Store, more than 300,000 and counting. RIM’s BlackBerry platform, on the other hand, has somewhere North of 10,000 apps, as of September. At the same time, Playbook supports Flash, whereas Apple’s iPad does not, all of which should offer some context for Mr. Balsillie’s comments.

On October 19th, he published a blog post where he said, “While Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple. developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of Websites that use Flash.”

Someone apparently forgot to let developers know about their unhappiness, however, as they continue to develop more iOS apps than any for other mobile platform. Consumers also missed the memo, as iPads and iPhones continue to gain momentum. In the September quarter, Apple sold more iPhones than RIM sold BlackBerrys, and Apple owned some 95% of the tablet market Q3, though that market was as yet devoid of any real competition.

Android, which has the second largest number of apps, passed both platforms to be the largest smartphone OS in the U.S. during the 3rd quarter, though no single device touches the popularity of iPhone.

In the video below, Mr. Balsillie demonstrates Playbook playing Flash movies (like the one we’re showing you) on YouTube.

Playbook Demonstration