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Angry old men

Imagine a situation. You're launching a new product, that's really important for your company and you're really proud of. You've been working on it for years and now it's finally ready for release. Or, at least, it's being released.

But the reviews for the product are a little mixed. People really like the hardware, and quite like your new software too. But they say it's missing key features that make it pretty useless for most people. They say it could turn out to be really good, but people might not want to buy one until these issues are sorted out.

What do you do? Do you reassure people, telling them again and again that the updates they want are on the way? Or do you complain that the reviews are 'unfair', and get shirty with journalists?

If you're Research in Motion, and your new product is their PlayBook tablet, then you do the latter! First co-CEO Jim Lazaridis got angry with the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Clellan-Jones when he asked - admittedly inelegantly - about the company's tricky legal issues with Middle Eastern governments who want access to users' email. (Seriously, watch the video. Bizarre.)

Then the other CEO (don't get us started) Jim Balsillie was pushed to the fore in place of the evidently-stressed Lazaridis. But he was also a touch defensive, telling Bloomberg TV he thought the reviews were 'unfair'.

The actual issue is that, somewhat amazingly, the PlayBook doesn't come with an email client. You have to pair it wirelessly with your BlackBerry phone to access your messages. (Seriously, watch the video. Bizarre.)

And the thing is that RIM may be right: it may be that lots of people want to use the PlayBook as an extension of their BlackBerry and don't care about it having its own email client. But if that's the case, why has RIM said it's going to release one later this year? If it hasn't got the darn thing ready, they probably shouldn't be releasing it.

Oh well. The PlayBook might do just fine, and besides, it's not out in the UK till June, so there's plenty of time to work out these kinks before we get our hands on it.

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