Baird Equity Research turned a lot of heads this morning when it released survey findings that suggest that developers are fleeing RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system.
But there’s a problem with the survey: RIM’s top developer relations people don’t believe it.
“I was shocked because the numbers in the report do not jell with what we’re seeing in the real world,” RIM developer relations vice president Alec Saunders said in a blog post. “The report contradicts much of what we are seeing and hearing in our developer community,” he said.
So what is Saunders seeing that counters the survey? For one, he points to RIM’s app developer base, which has grown 157 percent in the last year. (Note that this a percentage, not a hard number.) The company is also seeing growth with its BlackBerry app catalog, which has added 15,000 apps since January.
Saunders also points to the ongoing BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour, an event that attracts developers from all over the world. None of this, he says, supports the notion that developer interest in Blackberry’s future is waning.
The problem with Saunders’s defense is that he doesn’t directly contradict the results from the Baird Equity Research survey, which focuses largely on how developers feel about the future of the platform. RIM’s developer numbers may be growing in the short term, but many developers don’t appear to be confident that that growth is going to continue.
VentureBeat reached out to Saunders for an interview, but he wasn’t available.
In its defense, RIM is likely frustrated by the overwhelmingly negative reaction to anything it does, which is why it’s not a big surprise that the company is publicly taking the offensive today.
But Saunders’s comments risk making him sound too much like RIM CEO Thorstein Heins, who recently went on record to say that he doesn’t see anything wrong with his languishing company. It doesn’t take much sleuthing to see that there are some problems with RIM, and lagging developer support is likely one of them.