You had to know that Steve wouldn't get away with putting his five minute, competition-slamming manifesto out into the ether without some snap back from the competition. We've already heard responses from TweetDeck and Andy Rubin, and now RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie has issued a statement in response to Jobs. Here it is:
"For those of us who live outside of Apple's distortion field, we know that 7-inch tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple's attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple. And by the way, RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 – 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter. Apple's preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM's August-ending quarter doesn't tell the whole story because it doesn't take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger than summer months, nor does it explain why Apple only shipped 8.4 million devices in its prior quarter and whether Apple's Q4 results were padded by unfulfilled Q3 customer demand and channel orders. As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story."
Sort of a big one, but we figure RIM at least deserves some equal time. Interesting that RIM is fighting Apple's assertion of surpassing their handset shipments, we'll have to see how that one settles once we get some "official" numbers from an unbiased third party. Meanwhile, let the mudslinging continue!

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RIM's Jim Balsillie hits back at the Steve Jobs rant, Apple's 'distortion field'