RIM chief executive abruptly ends interview

Mike Lazaridis calls off a chat with the BBC after deciding the questions were unfair.

By Kim Peterson Apr 13, 2011 2:46PM
I wouldn't call the BBC an epicenter of biased journalism, but Mike Lazaridis might disagree.

The co-chief executive of Research In Motion (RIMM) abruptly ended an on-camera interview with the BBC because he thought the journalist's questions were unfair. Click here to see the interview.

The interviewer asked Lazaridis about Research In Motion's recent problems with governments in the Middle East and India over the security of the BlackBerry platform. The governments want decryption tools to be able to monitor messages sent from BlackBerry devices.

Lazaridis got prickly as soon as the subject was approached by Rory Cellan-Jones. "You implied that we have a security problem. We don't have a security problem," Lazaridis said. "We've just been singled out because we're so successful around the world."

The BlackBerry is an iconic product, Lazaridis said, and the company is being targeted because of its success.

Cellan-Jones pressed the matter further, asking whether Lazaridis could confidently tell users in the Middle East and India that they will have no problems with their BlackBerries.

"It's over," Lazaridis reponds. "The interview is over. You can't use that, Rory, that's not fair."

I agree with Lazaridis on this one. Because foreign governments -- and, undoubtedly, a certain amount of politics -- are involved, Lazaridis can't guarantee that BlackBerry users in those countries will have no problems.

Unfortunately, the way Lazaridis handled the interview has brought more attention to the subject than RIM wanted. There are plenty of ways to deflect questions like that without calling off the cameras.



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