Full Disclosure: I pretty much say BlackBerry instead of Research In Motion these days...

By Kevin Michaluk on 9 Aug 2012 11:39 am EDT

Throughout my 6+ years of working on CrackBerry, I have always been a stickler for doing things 100% by the book as far as BlackBerry-related vocabulary is concerned...

It's BlackBerry. Not Blackberry.

If you want to go plural, you have to write your sentence so you can say BlackBerry Smartphones. BlackBerrys is not technically by the book (you shouldn't modify a proper trademark), and BlackBerries... well, that's just plain wrong. The Smartphones thing is relatively new too. In the early years of CrackBerry they were actually referred to as BlackBerry Handheld Wireless Devices.

As for the company that makes BlackBerry Smartphones, their name is Research In Motion. Not Research in Motion. You need that capital I. If that's too long for you, you can abbreviate it to RIM (not RiM).

Thinking back, I'm pretty sure I was a BlackBerry user for well over a year before I even knew that the company making the phone was called Research In Motion. Like most people, I just assumed that BlackBerry made BlackBerry. It really wasn't until I started working on launching CrackBerry.com and immersed myself in this stuff that I became more familiar with the business side of things and learned the company was Research In Motion. Prior to that, I was -- like the majority -- a mainstream BlackBerry user that cared most about the product.

On CrackBerry Podcast 090, I declared that I'm going mainstream again as far as names go. In most cases, I now refer to Research In Motion as BlackBerry. Egggadz... I know... it's so wrong! But I'm doing it.

I have to honestly confess I've already been doing this for months now on my articles just to see if anybody would notice my (technical) mis-use of BlackBerry. Back in January I wrote another editorial titled It's time to change the name of Research In Motion to BlackBerry. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet, and probably won't (as much as there are compelling reasons to change, there are also many reasons why it makes more sense to keep things the same). But since then I have sinned regularly on the blogs and written phrases such as "BlackBerry's CEO, Thorsten Heins" instead of "Research In Motion's CEO, Thorsten Heins." To date, nobody has called me out on it, so I'm thinking it's not really that big of a deal. Most people are less anal about this kind of thing than me.

When I interviewed Frank Boulben, BlackBerry's new Chief Marketing Officer last month (see how I just did that?), in Waterloo, I asked him about the whole Research In Motion vs. BlackBerry thing. Frank made it clear that "BlackBerry" is the "mega brand" and that going forward you will see an even greater focus on BlackBerry than in the past. Following that lead, that's what you'll be seeing us do here on CrackBerry. More focus on BlackBerry, less on Research In Motion.

Don't panic. When we're writing articles specifically about the company, like earnings reports and official press statements or a special in-depth look at an attention-seeking shareholder, you'll still see us write Research In Motion. And if we're writing a sentence that mentions both the company and the products together you'll still see us write things like "Research In Motion, makers of BlackBerry" and not "BlackBerry, makers of BlackBerry." But where we think it makes sense to write BlackBerry instead of Research In Motion, we will.

Again, we've already been doing this for a while now with positive effect. I just wanted to get it out there so it's fully disclosed. I'd hate to get a tweet from someone telling us that the name of the company is Research In Motion and not BlackBerry and we made a mistake and need to fix it.

Bottom line... We know it's Research In Motion, but we're BlackBerry By Choice!

Reader comments

Full Disclosure: I pretty much say BlackBerry instead of Research In Motion these days...


Ahhh. You are changing the company RIM to the brand BlackBerry. I wonder what's in the future for the company.

No one has a clue what RIM is.

I worked there for years and people would ask where do you work? I would say Research In Motion, or RIM, and they would be puzzled. When I flashed a Blackberry, they would say 'OH you work for Blackberry!'

No one on this planet can say that the branding department at RIM failed.

lol when i used to work at RIM they made heavy emphasis on this we used to get docked on our score cards if we emailed or used bad terms with customers. in all honesty tho even in the home of RIM(Kitchener-Waterloo) or in most parts of canada from what i have seen everyone has associated the company name to BlackBerry not many if even remeber the name Research In Motion for anything to even exist. Its quite funny how a product takes over a companies actual name.

You're certainly entitled to your own style rules, but I don't see a problem with pluralizing trademarked names:

"Over the years he owned several Volkswagons."

"I must have eaten 30 Oreos for breakfast!"

"Volkswagon cars" "Oreo cookies" and "BlackBerry smartphones" seems unnecessarily cumbersome.

That's per Research In Motion's official brand guidelines where they have stipulated in the past that plural should be done as BlackBerry Smartphones.

I donno BlackBerrys just looks like poor English, and BlackBerries doesn't look like the spelling of a phone to me.

I imagine that is exactly the problem the RIM marketing department set out to deal with. The plural would not actually contain the trademarked term.
Of course Volkswagen don't have it. Volkswagens makes sense in English, and in German the plural of Volkswagen is also Volkswagen.

Well, what'd'ya'know. Apparently I've been spelling it wrong for a long time.

On the other hand, I didn't sit through 3 hours of "Saving Private Ryan" to have the Germans tell me how to spell!

You sat through it? My father had a ringside seat after his boat hit a mine on Juno. He reckons most of the opposition weren't even German. A lot of them were Serbs.

I think I'll hear dumb WWII-Comments till the end of my life, wether it's 60 years ago or not, wether it makes sense or not, just because I'm german. Volkswagen is a german brand so it'd be okay when I correct you, dumbass.

Except for "Legos"

Don't ever, EVER call it "Legos"

Sometimes a brand name is already plural, like "deer"

This has actually happened several times in the past, one notable company that did in fact change their name from Tandy Corporation to RadioShack (which was their store/"Brand" name). This has worked successfully for them and in theory could work for RIM as well.

There's even RIM policy on that (remember, they got into running their own blogs).

Putting the TM after every mention is ridiculous, so they loosened things up where they just put the TM after the first mention in an article, not every single one. I refuse to do the TMs though on CB. :) 

I did a lot of marketing for coke and their legal policies are ridiculous. tms, ®'s and ©'s everywhere, along with the corresponding legal text. there's always a fist full of legal crap that messes up the creative space. they even made me put a legal lines on web ads. so stupid. like ANYONE is going to rip off cokes intellectual properties and think they're going to get away with it. lol.

you can always tell when post are from an official social rep or corporate troll when they actually follow the rules. Here's an easy one... BlackBerry - who would actually capitalize the middle 'b' except someone on payroll?

ya to hell with grammar and sentence structure :-\

that is why there is a Chief Editor position, much like fact checkers, copy writers etc. it only makes for much better reading in the end when things can be understood instead of leaving room for to many questions ... I would really like to see CrackBerry get a Jr and Sr Editor to really make them stand out about all others. :D

... oh and ya I get that smiles are not correct either ;)

I would just like to see CB get ANY editor of ANY kind. There's not a single member of the staff that can get by without one. It drives me nuts to see Kevin's continual misuse of "it's" (as well as his many, many other grammatical errors), Zach's perpetual belief that "$0.99" is spelled ".99 cents" -- etc., etc., etc.

So I just read this article written at Mobile Nations or CrackBerry.com or both or just CrackBerry? Or just Mobile Nations....ugh I got a headache!


Here, I'll help you out with an illustration that will make your brain hurt less.

The Mobile Nations / CrackBerry relationship is similar to how television works. Think of television as your example. You have the Channel you tune into... then you have shows on that channel that you actually watch.

Mobile Nations is the channel or network. Example: The Food Network.

On The Food Network, you watch different cooking shows. CrackBerry is the Cooking show. There isn't actually a show called The Food Network. So you're watching a cooking show on the Food Network.  In this case you're reading CrackBerry on Mobile Nations.

There are lots of examples of this too online... go Engadget.com and you'll see lots of AOL branding. Engadget is part of AOL.

We definitely have room to improve how we get across this message on the sites though - something we are working on right now actually. Lots of great stuff coming in the months ahead. 



Even though it is "BlackBerry smartphones" in official marketing guidelines, RIM should revise this ASAP. This is suggesting that the name "BlackBerry" can only be associated with "smartphones", a category that will be as soon outdated as "typewriters", "calculators" and "slide rules". Even the term "BlackBerry PlayBook" is not correct.

If RIM is to survive, they need to expand their scope. Just as Apple Computer did when they changed their name to Apple, Inc.

iPhones and the Android/WP8 products are Smartphones too and I don't see people calling them outdated for a long time. Unless you're referring to the fact that the term Smartphone will soon lack the relative smartness, I'm not getting your point

Look at the browser header. It's "crackberry.com" to the WWW. Enter "www.CrackBerry.com" and it gets altered by the browser. URLs are not Roman alphabet case sensitive, and somebody in CrackBerry marketing didn't realise.

Lol. Who mentioned how a web url treats it. I'm talking about our official usage per us... logo, how we type it.. always CrackBerry / CrackBerry.com.

Just sayin :/ 

At least you still say "Research In Motion, makers of BlackBerry" instead of "Research In Motion, troubled makers of BlackBerry" like the media likes to say these days.

Another commonly trod path would be to split the company. BlackBerry would be the consumer side, and RIM the enterprise side. Both entities would be owned by Research In Motion. Just a thought, it's been done successfully by many others, and gives the company flexibility when it needs to cut dead weight...

Most blogs have the worst grammar that I've have ever seen, I'm not an editor or an english teacher but I did graduate high school and take pride in not looking like a complete idiot.

All said and done I could care less what terms we use when we"re talking about BlackBerry smartphones as long as we're not talking about iphone.

CrackBerry Is My Choice Of Drug

It's a tough call. As a long-time BlackBerry user, I think the names are tainted to an extent.

They need to come up with a new, catchy, parallel brand for the mainstream, while keeping BlackBerry alive in our VIP circles.

Ironically, in year 2005, I suggested this very same thing (though I came up with a crappy name "BerryMedia") -- My 2005 posting on a BlackBerry forum is at http://goo.gl/tzgD4 -- the suggestion is in bullet #4 -- or just google "Mark Rejhon's Top 7 Most Important BlackBerry Requests" to find it via google. Quite a prophetic post, I'd think.

Yup, i believe we are running out of things to post/say about RIM/BlackBerry until BB10 hits. Lets see if I can muster enough patience to another round of iPhone refreshes (and no BB10) and to my annoying Apple fan boy/girl friends.

Hey Kevin ~ Thanks for setting us straight. Is it acceptable to use: RIM/BlackBerry ?

Like you, I will now use BlackBerry when I'm talking about my Handheld Smartphone.
What about BB10 ? Is it okay to say: BB ? I don't think you covered that in your article. I'm starting to get a headache! Just kidding....
Even though, I'm wishing my life away, I can hardly wait for Research In Motion aka BlackBerry to launch BB10 in Q1 of 2013 !

Historically, using BB and BBM was not allowed by RIM standards.  It had to be BlackBerry Messenger for example.

But the last couple of years RIM has finally embraced it... they get that people are using it, so they might as well accept it. So now BBM is much more frequently used. I think BB10 is still somewhat unofficial slang, but I could see them embracing that too along the lines of how they have with BBM.

Personallly, I'm fine with using BB, BB10 and BBM like crazy. :) 

The reason people do that is for the stock quote though.. stock symbol is RIMM. So if you're talking about the stock... shares of RIMM.. that's not wrong actually.

I figured it out.

RIM doesn't rhyme with crackberry.

RIM would never entertain the idea of changing it.

Once upon a time I was given the job of policing the style book for the company I then worked for, because I was put in charge of "IP" and it turned out that the UK marketing and sales departments wouldn't know a typeface from an apostrophe. Never again...

I know some of this stuff looks like nitpicking, but the fact is that if you let a salesman or someone writing a press release loose without a rule book and a big hammer, within a week they'll be confusing you with your competitors, using other people's trademarks, and producing their idea of what looks attractive (any faces that you can get in Word, with any sizes and styles, probably the company name wrongly spelt in 48 point Comic Sans purple.)

My sympathy is with whoever has to enforce corporate standards at RIM, because trying to explain graphic design or trade marks to the average sales manager is like selling beef to a Vegan convention.

I'm the same when it comes to spelling BlackBerry. The worst offender I've I've seen was a cell phone repair shop that advertises in their store window that they repair HTC, Samsung, I phone (yes, with the space) and blackberry (no caps)

Just annoys me when a professional business can't even spell these correctly

BlackBerry By Choice! B-cubed C! B^3 C! I will further abbreviate this to B3C since I cannot superscript the 3.

Aha, so this is why the Playbooks predictive text always corrects and changes my Blackberry to BlackBerry!

The blacker the berry the sweeter the use...

As being a mildly OCD type of guy Kevin; I totally appreciate your wording and spelling clarification! I was already following suit and didn't even know it! No body wants to talk about RIM... It's all about BlackBerry baby!! :)

Oh... so Kevin is back on that tired old saw about how the parent company, RIM, should waste money on completely overhauling branding, stationery, etc? Whatever... :P

I like using BlackBerry rather than RIM. It means we can focus more on the product than the stock or corporate entity. Most of us are into the devices anyway. When I say 'BlackBerry by choice' I am generally thinking of my Playbook or Bold rather than the company. Having said that, I am pulling for RIM to make it and believe its products will help it do exactly that.

What ever. This is a tech site so no need to be too grammatically correct. I'm not native English speaker. So I don't care as long as the articles are good and informative.

As a marketing point I suggest RIM should rebrand both the company and its hardware with an entirely new name, at least in North America.

I take Kevin's point that 'RIM' doesn't mean much to consumers, but in the present North American market environment I'd argue the BlackBerry brand has been stigmatized beyond rehabilitation. It's the Oldsmobile of phones. Doesn't matter how good the product is now, people don't want to be seen with a BlackBerry. It's Dad's phone.


I always considered it a sign of genuine respect by referring to company related anything as Research In Motion. I have mixed feelings though leaning towards negative as calling them as a whole BlackBerry. Its all good, the only thing that ever bothered me was people referring to them directly by their ticker symbol RIMM. For some reason, that seems incredibly disrespectful if not heartless. I'm just weird like that :)