Are They Nuts? How We Just Got Locked Out Of RIM's Next Big Announcement

jim balsillie mike lazaridis rim research in motion

Photo: RIM’s 2000 Annual Report

Like every other big tech company other than Apple, RIM will be at the Consumer Electronics Show next week showing off its latest and greatest stuff.And like every other big tech company there will be a big press conference where it announces all that latest and greatest stuff to the media.

Except RIM, a company in dire need of good press these days, seems to think it can snub media outlets on its CES announcements.

A little backstory:

Yesterday, I saw some other blogs talking about invites they received to a RIM event on January 10, where the company is expected to show off the latest version of the new PlayBook tablet OS. I didn’t get the invite, so I decided to shoot an email to my contacts at RIM asking for one. 

Here’s the answer I got, several hours and one “Hey, just checking in…” reminder email later:

Thank you for your interest in RIM at CES 2012. We apologise that our event is at capacity and we will not be able to accommodate additional attendees.

I’ve been to Vegas several times. I’ve also been to the Cosmopolitan, where RIM’s event is taking place. The venue is massive. It’s tough to believe that RIM’s press conference was at capacity just a few hours after invites were sent out. 

(By the way, for those non-media folks out there, phrases like “our event is at capacity” is PR-babble for “we don’t want you there.”)

So the only logical conclusion here is that RIM decided to start playing favourites when it comes to who covers its news. 

What a mistake.

RIM’s PlayBook tablet has been on the market for nine months now. And it’s still plagued by the same problems it had day one. No email. Horrible app selection. No calendar. No BBM. You get the idea. RIM’s press conference on Tuesday is supposed to show how the company plans to fix all that after months and months of promising — and failing to deliver — a major update to the PlayBook. 

You’d think after all the horrible PlayBook reviews, lackluster new BlackBerry phones, and losing to Apple and Google in every way imaginable over the last two years, RIM would be tripping over itself to get as much media coverage as possible when it has a new announcement.

But it isn’t. 

UPDATE: Another RIM rep (not the one I was going back and forth with yesterday) just sent me an invitation to the event. I’ll go.

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