This whole sequence of repeated promises and failing to perform is most disturbing, and does neither RIM's nor PocketMac's reputation any service. I first contacted PocketMac in March of this year and got the same promises as did schalliol, followed by deafening silence.
The issue isn't trivial to me, as I purchased the BlackBerry and the much more costly monthly service from Nextel predicated on PocketMac's promise of version 4's availability in the immediate
future. My address book in Entourage has over 6500 names, perhaps 70-80% of them members of opt-in email lists I administer. To have those lists in my BB would be a royal pain. However, version 4 of PocketMac (I was assured by the developer), would be able to selectively synch based on Entourage categories, allowing me to selectively include only the contacts I needed and wanted to the BB and synched (backed up, as it were, as well) to Entourage. Promises followed more promises with no results.
It's now nearing the end of July. For something that was just a "few days" away and a minor inconvenience, it's become a major problem. Not only am I regularly having to manually, painfully
enter important contacts on the BB's keyboard instead of my Mac's, it also leaves me with no backup, should the BB die or be lost/stolen. In fact, it did
die (keyboard completely quit working) and had to have it replaced. My heart was in my mouth as I imagined losing all those vital contacts (over 600, many not at all in Entourage). Fortunately, the tech was able to transfer all the data to my new one, but it was very disturbing and the prospect of potential total data loss disaster is still not resolved. The people at PocketMac do not respond in any way to phone calls.
While they do
post a phone number on their web site, it is (they seemingly-smugly brag about that on the same page that provides their number) never
answered live. Further, it's my experience that calls are not returned, but simply fall into a black hole. I wonder about companies that hide themselves from telephone contact.
My own most valuable connections with customers are usually by phone. Although such contacts don't always yield a direct, immediate financial payoff, I get invaluable information and feedback and learn about my clients' needs and wants, things that virtually no one would otherwise take the time and effort to type out manually. Everyone knows how just a slight change of tone, a hesitation, a laugh, can communicate a wealth of useful information for which email is very poorly suited. An axiom of modern Communication Theory is that in any relationship, including such as customer and vendor, "one cannot not
communicate." The failure (refusal?) to respond to phone calls is heard as a loud message. Nor have the PocketMac "support" people consistently responded even to email inquiries.
As one self-imposed (by their own staff) deadline/estimate after another vaporized, they just stopped responding altogether. Another
message - ambiguous but loud - arising from PocketMac's not communicating. It was almost, but not quite as difficult with RIM.
At least they answer
their phone and while getting to speak to someone appropriate wasn't easy, it wasn't impossible. Why would I contact RIM? Well, trying to read bewtween the lines, it certainly appears that some while back, PocketMac and RIM struck a deal
where RIM would support the development and delivery of the application so that PocketMac for the BlackBerry could be free to end users. While that sounds nice - a vital software tool free - in fact it seems somehow to have created "vaporware," with no progression, as promised, to the very necessary features of version 4, not even a Beta version. So as far a I'm concerned, once that RIM allowed itself to be inserted into PocketMac's proccess, and especially as I've purchased a BlackBerry that's made by RIM in expectation the version 4 would be available, they're now in my sights to take responsibility for this issue. Frankly, I'd have been delighted to pay PocketMac the previous price of the software
[before the deal was struck between the two companies] or even double
that to get the functionality I need to feel safe and sane with my BB and integrate it with Entourage. Free isn't free
when it generates far more work and risk than a fair price I can pay directly for software that does what I need it to do. That kind of free is costly, and nearly irrecoverably lost me my data! I eventually contacted someone at RIM by phone
who shall, momentarily here, remain nameless. He sounded both concerned and embarrassed and wasn't very forthcoming about why the situation existed, except it was clear from what he did say and how he said it that he felt caught between a rock and a hard place (I'd guess caught between irate users and his somewhat-understandable need to keep whatever's really
going on between RIM and PocketMac private within his company]. He ultimately asked me to "document" my correspondence with PocketMac,
but I decided not to go to the time and trouble of looking up all the emails and forwarding them to him; I'm pretty sure I'm not the first to complain to RIM about the issue. In fact, when I stumbled across this forum this morning, it seemed to exactly confirm my suspicions about that. I find myself wondering several things:
* Did RIM default on promises to pay PocketMac for it's development of version 4?
* Or, did PocketMac, now that it didn't perhaps have the urgency for cash flow/profits directly from users pushing it to follow through, and perhaps having pocketed (no pun intended) RIM's money, got sloppy-lazy in moving version 4 out of Beta?
* Did the oft-mentioned Beta actually even exist
, or was that
* Did RIM and PocketMac have a falling out?
* Are Research In Motion and PocketMac just companies that don't consider supporting their products and keeping promises to their users important? Curious minds
, as the saying goes, want to know. And the consequence of playing deaf?
This message will undoubtedly get spidered and cataloged for tens of thousands of future Google, Yahoo! and MSN search engine visitors to find when looking for info about RIM and PocketMac, now publicly visible for all the world to see, instead of being resolved appropriately and without fanfare right from the start. Sort of poetic, isn't it?
Originally Posted by schalliol
Seeing the quote below posted by another user, I wondered if anyone here had information about PocketMac 4.0. On June 16th, the support person, Steve, expected the 4.0 release out "the next 2 to 3 weeks." Two weeks would've been on the 30th of June and 3 weeks would've been last Friday.