RIM's CEO Terminates BBC Interview Over Simple Question

The BlackBerry maker didn't like a question about its dealings with the Indian government

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In a textbook case on how not to act during an on-camera interview, the co-CEO of Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, terminated his chat with the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones today. "Turn that off," Mike Lazaridis demanded before walking away. What did the reporter ask that was so galling?

"Can I move onto the problems you've had in terms of security and your various arguments with the Indian government... Is that anywhere near being sorted?" asked Cellan-Jones. If you're not up to speed, the BlackBerry maker is in a dispute with the Indian government because RIM doesn't want to allow access to encrypted enterprise services that India says terrorists could use to coordinate attacks. It's not a dispute that reflects poorly on RIM's business practices however Lazaridis's tantrum doesn't make them look good:

Lazaridis : "That's just not fair, Rory. Because first of all it's not a security problem. We have no security problem."

Cellan-Jones: "Well you have an issue."

Lazaridis: "No we don't. We've just been signaled out because we're so successful around the world. We're an iconic product."

Cellan-Jones: "...We've got a lot of viewers and listeners in the Middle East and in India. You can confidently tell them that they're going to have no problems with being able to use their BlackBerrys?"

Lazaridis: "Interviews over. You can't use that Rory. This is a national security issue. Turn that off."

See the video here.

On his blog, Cellan-Jones described the interaction as such:

Suddenly, the atmosphere in the room chilled, Mr Lazaridis told me my question was unfair, and his PR executive informed us that the interview was over. We were there, apparently, to discuss the new product and nothing else.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.