Samsung has joined forces with RIM in protesting against Apple’s claims that its smartphones suffer similar antenna
problems to the iPhone 4. RIM has condemned the claims as 'unacceptable.'
In a press
conference last week, deemed a PR disaster by industry analysts, Apple chief Steve Jobs addressed antenna problems with the iPhone 4 by offering a free bumper and a full refund to users of affected iPhones. However, he also claimed RIM's Blackberry Bold 9700, the HTC Droid Eris, the Samsung Omnia II and some Nokia phones suffer from similar
RIM hit back in a joint
statement from its co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.
They said: ‘Apple’s attempt
to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims
about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s
understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s
RIM said it is ‘a global
leader in antenna design’ and had avoided designs like the one Apple used in
the iPhone 4, ‘instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for
dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage.’
The statement added: ‘One
thing is for certain, RIM's customers don't need to use a case for their
BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made
certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions
rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates
specifically to Apple.’
Samsung also refuted Apple's claims. In a statement the manufacturer said: 'The antena is located at the bottom of the Omnia II phone while iPhone's antenna is located on the lower left side of the device. Our design keeps the distance between a hand and an antenna. We have fully conducted field tests before the roll out of smartphones. Reception problems have not happpened so far, and there is no room for such problems to happen in the future.'
Nokia also issued a
statement which said: ‘Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core
competence at Nokia for decades, across hundreds of phone models.’
Analysts said Apple’s
decision to tar rivals with the same brush was a PR disaster which would
backfire on them.
John Strand, MD of Strand
Consulting said: ‘The way Apple handled its Antenna-Gate last Friday was a PR
disaster. Attack is not always the best form of defence, and pointing to other
manufacturers will just result in its rivals gunning for it.’
Neil Mawston, analyst at
Strategy Analytics, said Apple’s admission that there was a fault and its offer
of a free bumper and a full refund was ‘a half way house.’
He added that pointing the
finger at other manufacturers was ‘below the belt.’ He went on: ‘There is no
doubt they will come under fire for pinpointing faults in others’ smartphones.
'The key danger for Apple,
however, is whether they are losing heart share which could hit their market
Strand said operators will also be
concerned at this latest fault. ‘In many countries operators have to offer two
year warranties on these phones. Apple only gives operators a one year
warranty. Where does this failing leave operators? It is questionable what
returns operators are getting from stocking iPhones. This will make them look
However, Tim Shepherd,
analyst at Canalys, said: ‘Apple’s mud slinging was unattractive. However, this
was a defensive move since other manufacturers have been taking advantage of
the situation by taking hits at Apple since the fault surfaced.’
He added: 'However, naming other vendors is an unwise move because it keeps a story going that Apple would rather go away.'