RIM's Balsillie Says Apple's Mobile App Dev Model Flawed

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple' had a good run, but now it's time to return to a more traditional, less proprietary development model for mobile apps.

That was the assertion Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research in Motion, made here during an onstage interview at the Web 2.0 Summit on Tuesday.

"We believe in the Web, that you don't need an SDK, but should be able to publish with the tools you already use. You don't need an app for the Web," said Balsillie as part of a featured interview with the Summit's program director, John Battelle.

"There is still a role for applications, no question about that, but this idea of app-ifying the Web, we completely disagree with that," he added.

Balsillie's remarks come as RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) is battling to hold off the growing popularity of the iPhone and Apple's newer mobile device, the iPad, that have been eating away at RIM's once much larger share the of the enterprise market.

RIM has already previewed a flashy new under $500 PlayBook tablet, due out the first quarter of 2011, that's designed for the enterprise. Balsillie also touted his company's WebWorks developer tools that are based on Web standards.

"You can use the tools you already know whether it's Adobe's Air, Flash,Visual Studio or something else," said Balsillie.

While declining to discuss specific new product plans, Balsillie said RIM would be foolish not use Near Field Communications (NFC) chips in future BlackBerry devices. "And we're not fools," he said, laughing.

Yesterday at the conference, Google CEO Eric Schmidt showed an Android phone with NFC built in to the device. Google is expected to release the NFC Android smartphone soon. NFC enables easier, more secure mobile ecommerce, letting the phone function like a credit card, letting users tap the device to trigger the payment system to make purchases.

As for PlayBook, Balsillie said it has a significant performance edge over the iPad, thanks to the device's multicore processor that enables true multitasking. He said RIM's strategy is based on innovative performance and constructive alignment, noting that, among other partnerships, RIM is a strong supporter of Adobe's Flash and multimedia tools for mobile development that Apple has shunned.

Balsillie said he sees "tremendous growth" ahead in the enterprise with so much of computing going to mobile platforms.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at