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WTF?! Even Jeopardy Doesn't Know That Research in Motion is the Company That Makes BlackBerry Smartphones...

By Kevin Michaluk on 3 Feb 2010 09:59 am EST
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Wow. This is kind of messed up. Jeopardy, the famous game show that has all the answers and who in Alex Trebek undoubtedly has the smartest game show host in the world, somehow messed up royally last night on a question that to most of us CrackBerry users out there should seem pretty dang simple. Our own Adam Zeis was watching it live and nearly spit his drink on the floor as it unfolded....

Under a category of "Non-Edible Fruit" came the question you can watch in the video above. Luckily, both the contestant and Jeopardy got the question wrong, which means she got the answer right, but seriously.... it's RESEARCH IN MOTION that makes BlackBerry Smartphones, not BlackBerry! BlackBerry is a brand. This little mishap raises a great point though, which is that I'm guessing most people DO think that BlackBerry is the company that makes BlackBerry Smartphones or at least did think that when they first learned about BlackBerry and/or bought their first BlackBerry Smartphone. RIM really has done very little that I have ever noticed to build awareness of their corporate brand, instead putting their efforts into that of the BlackBerry name. Which makes sense I guess... BlackBerry is a much better name than RIM.

Since these days RIM pretty much brands every single product they make under the BlackBerry name (there were exceptions to this in RIM's pre-BlackBerry days) it almost makes more sense and would be less confusing to the world if RIM just went out and changed their corporate name to BlackBerry. Why fight what everybody else seems to get wrong. What's even more disturbing here is that Alex Trebek was born in Sudbury, Ontario, which is just a few hours away from RIM's headquarters in Waterloo! If Jeopardy and Alex Trebek let something like that slip through the cracks, then I'm not sure what to think. What do you think? RIM or BlackBerry? That is the question!

Reader comments

WTF?! Even Jeopardy Doesn't Know That Research in Motion is the Company That Makes BlackBerry Smartphones...

117 Comments

first :)

so blackberry is not considered a company? only a name for RIM's phones? i have to say it's a bit confusing, i know that RIM makes blackberries but if i was her i would've said blackberry too... plus im sure they do know it's RIM but they would accept either answer.

Geriatric UI, nostalgic OS, and worst-ever browser, I've never heard of these in these times of iPHone OS and Android. Is Blackberry still surviving?

I mean, come on people. Admit the fact that Blackberries are perhaps the worst "smart"phones on the planet these days. Because if you don't, and keep on prodding RIM and telling everyone blackberry phone are the best, they will not realize that they have not been able to catch up or progress and they are slowly sinking into oblivion.

they are sinking into oblivion, along with the platform. And users sink along with RIM. So if you want that, then continue telling RIM and Blackberry how good they are at what they are doing right now.

I agree they need to update a lot of things but the worst??? No way, they are still the most productive and efficient smartphones.

exactly, RIM is unknow as they have nothing under the strictly RIM name. I believe this is the source of much confusion, cause I personally cannot think of anything made and marketed under the RIM name.

I saw this tweeted by @azeis last night and it got me to thinking... Does it really matter?

I then jumped on BBM and asked 4 contacts who aren't necessarily tech geeks, and they all responded that "BlackBerry" makes their device. None of them knew who or what RIM was.

Bottom line: They still love their device and won't give it up for anything.

does it really matter what other people think, be it correct or not, as long as it doesnt affect me personally?

if someone says something wrong, like, states that blackberry is the manufacturer of the blackberry smartphone, i just really dont care, if i were to even notice in the first place. it just doesnt affect me.

i have more important things to concern myself with in my life besides whether jeopardy got the manufacturer of the blackberry device right or not... like what color i'm going to do my hair this month.

Depends on if she won too. If she won with the "not exaclty right" answer, and I lost, I might throw a fit too. lol.

But this is a site about Blackberry's. So does it matter? Well, my knowledge is that Crackberry is about everything Blackberry. So yes, it does matter!

What would have been better is if the contestant said RIM and and Xela said, no sorry its Blackberry.

I too was watching, as I do every night, and I answered with "RIM" and my wife corrected me. The answer had to be a fruit and "RIM" is not a fruit. Blackberry, as incorrect as it may be, was the best answer in this instance.

I too shook my head when this question was answered incorrectly. I was telling my girlfriend (who wasn't aware that RIM existed) that the question creators over at Jeopardy should be ashamed. She then asked, "What if the contestant had said Research In Motion, and if so, could it be contested when considered the wrong answer?"

I told her, "Probably not based on the category it was under, but nevertheless, it is still wrong."

The average person, and obviously Jeopardy too, are clueless to RIMs existence.

to fit the category, the question could have been aptly worded, "The smartphone Reasearch in Motion specializes in"

fakkk, Alex Trebek is givin us Canadians a bad rep! i think he needs a RIM job...haha

The proper way that Jeopardy should have worded the "answer" was "The Bold 9000 is among this BRAND'S series of Smartphones"

Yes, I knew. Kind of like JETSKI is a Brand made by Kawasaki and nobody else. Range Rover is made by Land Rover, which is manufactured by TaTa motors in india.

But here is the big question, why did it take so long for ANYONE to buzz in. That was the type of question that someone should have buzz before alex was done talking.

They're suppose to wait until Alex is done reading the answer. A friend of mine was on Jeopardy and that's what they're all instructed to do.

But this is Jeopardy. A game show that prides themselves on the correct question/answer.

I've seen them get pretty picky hundreds of times and not give the contestant credit.

This would be like answering "What is iPod" from "The Nano is among this company's series of media players"

Jeopardy FAIL! She should be -$1200

I think you can read the question in an alternate way that makes her answer correct: BlackBerry is this company's "series of smartphones".

I asked this question to a few friends and they all said Verizon. I should note that they are all Verizon customers.

The category was about things named after a fruit, not the actual fruit itself. The first answer in that category was something about a computer named "Lisa" that was first to have a mouse. Question- What is Apple? So these questions had to deal with names of fruits, non edible ones. Get it?

Back in the day the RIM logo was branded on all Blackberry phones, however in recent years the company has made a push to become more consumer friendly by solely pushing their products as a Blackberry and not under the RIM Blackberry name. So it's easy to understand how newer consumers get confused by this.

They would know that some answers given by contestants are allowed to be 'right'...even if TECHNICALLY the answer isn't right.

Have you never seen an instance where a contestant gives an answer that may not be technically right; but that is in the general framework of what the category is asking? In turn Alex Tribek looks over to his producers and seeks confirmation as to whether the answer given is permissible or not?

Yes.

Except that this wasn't one of those instances. The question wasn't even framed for the correct answer to work. And there was no hesitation in Alex checking for a right answer.

When i first bought the phone, i did not realize that RIM was the company that was behind BlackBerry. There was no indication that it was. And if there did happen to be a mention of it somewhere in the manual or in the phone. I admit, when i saw the manual, i just tossed it aside and started learning on my own. :D

It was not until i started exploring the web about blackberry that I learn it was by RIM.

This was about 2-3 years ago. =]

I always said if I lost my job I would want to go work for Research in Motion...that way I can say I got a rim job.

I think mostly half of you are lying on the poll. Come on, there's no indication on the phone itself! Jus guess what?...BLACKBERRY.

there is! go into the about page (options>about) and it very clearly states copyright research in motion.
i think it falls under the same sense as `who makes your PC OS?`, windows? nope microsoft, but how many would answer windows?

Nah...most people know WHO makes their computer and which OS their computer runs. You can look right on your computer and see "Dell", or "HP" or "Microsoft"...

When I look on my phone...I see "Blackberry". I dont see "Research In Motion". When you view advertisments you see PALM Pre...HTC Hero...APPLE Iphone. Then after all of those you see BLACKBERRY. You dont see Research In Motion. So its a very honest mistake. One that I couldnt hold against anybody.

I go the the Apple site to see Iphones...the Palm site to see the Pre...HTC site to see the Mytouch. I go the blackberry.com to see the Blackberry. The site isnt even named after the manufacturer...its named after Blackberry. So I cant hold that mistake against anyone.

Cenloe's wife! The reason "Blackberry" is correct in this instance is not because the Jeopardy question writers or Alex Trebek think that the company is really BB and not RIM, but because the category is "Non Edible Fruit." Your answer HAS to be in the form of a fruit.

Jeopardy often tweaks correct answers in order to fit into its categories.

The category always slips my mind and thats why I usually get the question wrong. If I only had the names of the category's right in front of my freaking face!

Yes, that's true that RIM doesn't work with the category, but Blackberry isn't a "correct" answer. It only signaled the proper response from the contestant because both her and the show were equally ignorant of the facts.

For example: If the category were "Places Ending with the Letter 'T'" and the Question were "This New England CITY is located in the 14th State added to the Union." and contestant answered "Vermont"...that would be wrong. Even though Vermont does end in T (satisfies category) and was the 14th state in the Union, Vermont is not a CITY, it's a State, just as Blackberry is a brand, not a company! The only reason the screw-up isn't more obvious to people is that far more people recognize that Vermont is a state than (apparently) know that Blackberry is a brand!

Did that girl win? If so, I think the other contestants would have a legitimate beef.

Too bad one of we crackberry addicts wasn't playing. If we had, we would have answered, "Excuse me Alex, I believe the answer you are looking for based on the category name is 'what is blackberry', however, that is not the company name. It is in fact Research in Motion."

That would have been the ticket......

seriously, its not that big of a deal. I think (not to offend anyone) but only geeks of the crackberry nation would
make it a big deal that she said "Blackberry" and not "RIM". I think most of the US populations would have given the same answer

So by pointing it out, I've (not I, but Kevin in this instance) made it a big deal? This is certainly something I'd point as as being "wrong", but I wouldn't really do anything about it.

the point isn't that SHE was wrong. The point is that the Jeopardy portion of the question was wrong to begin with.

"I think most of the US populations would have given the same answer"

It IS a big deal because the whole point of the Jeopardy show is to test the contestant's knowledge, not the knowledge of the general population. This is like asking "This man was the youngest U.S. President ever." Most people would probably say John Kennedy, but he was only the youngest man to be elected President. Roosevelt took office after McKinley's assassination at a younger age than Kennedy. The answer that most of the U.S. population would give is not necessarily the correct answer. The correct answer is the one that matches the facts. Jeopardy should have double-checked their question. This whole confusion could have easily been avoided had they simply said "this series (or brand) of smartphones" instead of "this company's series"

I knew it was RIM, however not until I did some ahem, research. I knew that I wanted a "Blackberry phone", however not until I read up on it, became a CB addict did I discover it was actually manufactured by Research In Motion.

So my guess is the more "casual users" so to speak that get BB phones, do not know/care that RIM is the manufacturer of their phone.

because thats the line of products of RIM's that this site talks about...

I'm sure iphone sites don't have Apple in the name..

theiphoneblog.com etc etc..

Just sayin'

I saw this last night, and the first thing I wanted to do was write the Jeopardy "Judges" and tell them they are stupid.

obviously in the context of the category "RIM" would be wrong. but if it were me, i probably would have been an ass about it and made them give me the points anyway. i went to a jeopardy taping once when my sister was a contestant (she got pwned by that dork ken jennings) and they had a few contested answers/questions that got reversed.

They should have just worded the question different. If they would have used the word "brand" instead of "company" the question and answer would have been correct. People should now brands are not companies. Pepsi is a company, Mountain dew is a brand they make. It isn't that hard. They should have just changed the wording and everything would have been fine. Crackberry should try to contact the show and see what they say.

I guess I can see the shock at first but really, the average person has no idea about RIM unless they dabble a bit in business/technology news or stocks. Other than that, go look at every Blackberry commercial, news ad, online ad, etc there is no mention of RIM anywhere. All people see is Blackberry unlike say Apple.

The only time people might have heard of RIM was when Jim Balsillie was trying to buy an NHL team but even then, some articles and news channels referred to him as the "Blackberry Billionaire" or "Blackberry CEO"....so...ya...

Can't blame the girl. Jeopardy people have no excuse though, they should have done their research.

I fully admit that I bought a Blackberry without ever having heard of RIM. In fact, I probably didn't even learn what RIM was until I started viewing this site and posting on the Forums. I think the confusion is excusable for two reasons:

(1) They've been using the name "Blackberry" as far back as most people can remember, and Blackberry (prior to the iPhone) became the default name for "smartphone", similar to how people refer to tissues as "Kleenex," no matter what brand they are.

(2) Blackberry added to the confusion by giving a model number AND a model name. When I bought a "Blackberry 9700 Bold", the reasonable assumption was that Blackberry was the company name (or d/b/a name, at least, and "Bold" was the model name)

What we don't for sure, though, is whether or not "Research in Motion" would have been rejected as an answer. It's possible they could have done their homework and accepted either answer, but that would've been a true disaster!

That is what I asked when i found out that BB wasn't made by BB.

I was thinking about buying one about a year before i actually did. A friend had one told me all about it, said it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. told me to look into investing in the company stock as well( Cause they were gonna take off!). Tells me to search RIM, it was at this point i learned it wasn't actually BB

This is exactly what happened in the 1920s when the Hoover Company drove a marketing campaign that resulted in the vacuum cleaner itself being synonymous with the Hoover name. No matter what vacuum you owned people still referred to it as a Hoover. In a similar twist RIM has developed such brand recognition around the devise that the corporation has become nearly invisible. Not so with the iPhone, iMac, iPod (or iTouch) with Apple. Apple as a company is the face of everything they make and do…the individual products are sub-sets of the corporation. I think RIM has done an ingenious job of making the devise to a point where it has become a product category in itself. Simply put, if the consumer recognizes the product as the corporation… you have done your job!

I've also found that a lot of people outside North America think Blackberry is a cell phone service provider. I think it's because they think of BBM as a service like the Nextel Direct Connect

If you consider it, it really isn't that big of a screw up. RIM is the maker of the Blackberry brand which has the Bold as a model. If you compare that to car companys and were asked who makes the TrailBlazer, the likely answer you would get is Chevy, not GM. To me these are similar structures. Company -> Brand -> Model

I agreed at first that this was a wrong answer, however given the fact that now I know the category had to be a reference to fruit, then it all makes sense.

Alot of people barely know how to use their Blackberry's to begin with. Most business people get it because its "the thing to do". It's become that staple business phone and most people just want to be seen with one. I think it's the same with th iphone too.

But with so little knowledge of what a "BATTERY PULL" is (and yes i have had people hay "huhhhhhhh? what do you mean? like... pull it out? what the hell does that do for me?") I would be very surprised if most people knew about RIM.

I guess since there is never a RIM anywhere on the face of the phones, people dont know and probably dont care.

When I got my first BlackBerry I had know idea it was made by Research In Motion! I think a lot of people think it is made by BlackBerry.

The answer should have been:

"The Bold 9000 is among this series of smartphones". (without the word "company's")

End of discussion.

the answer says company's series of smartphones. It sounds to me that the series it's blackberry, which it's correct. They aren't asking about the company who owns that serie of smartphone, are they?

The answer wasn't really wrong. Blackberry is a fictitious name for RIM. So RIM does business as (d/b/a) Blackberry with regard to its phones. The true legal name for RIM is Research in Motion Limited. So when you refer to Blackberry the phone manufacturer, you are technically referring to Research in Motion Limited.

They're only asking what series the bold 9000 was under, which would be blackberry. If they asked what company makes the bold 9000 then it would be RIM

Blackberry is the series of smart phones that RIM makes. They are looking for the name of the series of phones which the company RIM makes.

You go into a restuarant and ask for a coke you want a cola flavored beverage, you ask for a kleenex you want a tissue

I think we can all figure where I'm going with this

Yes, where you're going is the same place all the other wrong people went. When you set out to make a game-show based on trivia, there's an expectation that your trivia is accurate. Not "nudge-nudge, I know what you meant" close enough.

The company in question is named Research in Motion. What their product-line is called isn't what's asked. A mistake was made, period.

While you must go to "a Mustang dealership" to buy said car, if the salesperson says they're made by Mustang, he's wrong and you should laugh at him. They're made by Ford.

This is not about a generic name representing a product type, like Kleenex or Xerox. An iPhone is not a Blackberry, which is what fits your examples.

Yes, there are more important things to worry about than who makes what, but why not take the time to educate yourself?

0^0=?

Alex has been an ex-pat for a very long time. With all the media attention Jim Basillie has "enjoyed" in recent years, I can't imagine anyone in Ontario not knowing that RIM is the company behind BBs. I was in a meeting with a policy wonk in DC yesterday, and he mentioned a project he'd worked on that had Hugh Segal acting as "front-man" for Jim Basillie on a project in the US. A truly fascinating individual...

I knew that the company was RIM (not the case for most others), but they should have gone down one of 2 roads...1) they should have the company name of "Blackberry" if they liked it so much or 2) if they kept there company name as RIM, then they should put "RIM" on all their phones (and all other products), and if they wanted blackberry to be noticed, put that on their products as well...just like all other normal companies. (i.e. Motorola, they have their logo on all products and on some phones have the model number on the back). Simple as that! Way to confuse us all and a great marketing tool as well!! We don't even know your company name!!

I understand the beef with jeopardy and that the question was worded incorrectly, but since it was in the "non edible fruit" category then the correct response have to be something to do with a real fruit(e.g. Blackberry). The answer should have stated "the bold 9000 is a model in this brands line of [incredibly awesome] smartphones"

This is an issue only for Americans. The great country that can only identify other parts of the world based on whos backyard they're fighting in.

I had to laugh when i say this so i asked a guy in the office here if he know and to my surprise he didnt know that either. guess its just a crackberry people and us geeks that know that.

@velocityboy seriously dude?

Anywho, I think people who used Blackberrys more when it was a business geared device know it's made by Research In Motion. I believe theh shift happened when it began being branded to regular consumers.

Outside of a few people in the NHL and their associated lawyers, no one knows who Jim Balsillie is.
Little enough no one outside of a few crackberry fanatics (like myself) know who RIM is....
Blackberry Rules!

It is not a cheap endeavor to change the name of a publicly traded corporation. Assuming that Research in Motion would consider becoming Blackberry, there are things to think about.

First, do they have any non-smartphone products over the horizon which they would want to be branded differently? They could increase recognition of the RIM name by doing this. "From RIM, the makers of Blackberry, the Widget!" If the product differs enough it could be detrimental to the Blackberry brand to call it by the same name. Apple could have changed their name to Macintosh long ago, but then the iPod and iPhone would have been called Macpods and Macphones by people, and this is not desirable. Notice that Apple's tablet is an iPad, not a Mac tablet. Apple wants the iPad to be associated with the smartphone and MP3 player side of the company, not with the Macintosh side. Branding is a serious concern here.

Second, is the real cost of the name change. There are fees to be paid to all states and nations with which the company holds licenses and copyrights and patents. Then the ticker symbol should be changed. They could leave it as RIM, but then why bother changing anyway. With this in mind, they have to consider the change in trading. Would the fact that they are more recognizable create enough trading to pay for the cost of doing so? By the way, while the ticker symbol is in transition, there is no trading. So they need to see good evidence that changing the name would increase stock trades and price enough to make money.

I'm sure there are other considerations, but these are two huge ones. I personally think it would be pretty pointless. I doubt the average person thinks to go buy shares in Blackberry and when they find that there is no publicly traded company by that name, they give up. If they were serious about buying, then they would dig some more and find out that RIM is the ticker symbol for the stock they want to buy.

i feel your pain in saying that RIM, doesn't make it know that manufacture BlackBerry Smart Phones. Blackberry isn't really a company per say. My boss made a comment one day, "I should contact BlackBerry, and tell them they should devlop this kind of application", I laughed and then got mad at her and she didn't understand. I was like you don't tell BlackBerry, you contact RIM. She looked at me puzzled, like WTF is RIM? It's amazing, even people who are BlackBerry owners, don't know who makes their smartphone. That would be the same thing as one saying "Oh, the maker of my car is Maxima." Umm, no, Maxima isn't the manufacturer of your vehicle. That would be Nissan.

from the looks of the RIM site the only product they have is the BB phone and related items. if the only product apple made was the Iphone and it was the only product for years the Apple name would be lost too.

Plus they call it the Apple Iphone, but they dont call it the RIM blackberry.

The have a Blackberry Developers conference, not a RIM Developers Conference.

my first blackberry was a 7250 (ancient, I know!) and it had RIM on the back... that's how I knew, but some people never owned an older berry so they think that "Blackberry" is the manufacturer. does RIM make any other phones? if not, maybe they should just change their name to Blackberry? haha good conversation piece! :)

To most people it really doesn't matter, Subarus are made by Fuji Heavy Industries but the majority of Subaru owners wouldn't know that.

A rose by any other name. or i-phone. aspirin started out as a brand , but now they ARE aspirins.maybe Blackeberry will evolve also. I don't say Blackberry, i say I have a BOLD, nuff said!!

I think the purpose of Kevin posting this was to inform us like he does, so well I may add, about any and everything else in the Blackberry world. He tells us all kinds of things. Things everyone wants to know and things maybe only a select few want to know. I think the people that are getting so up tight over him posting this are crazy (I hope they are kidding). The funnier ones are the ones trying to "rewrite" the question...lol This was a very funny post and the comments to fit. Granted most BB users do not know who RIM are, and they probably do not care. But I do not think that he was intending this to be a "complaint" by him at all. Just, once again, letting us all know what's going on. And some of you, like I did, thought it was very funny! Thanks Kevin for sharing. :)

I think the only part that irks me is that the girl got paid $1200 to answer this question incorrectly =P

Also, I don't think it matters if "most of the world" doesn't know Blackberry is made by RIM - People on Jeopardy are supposed to be smarter, which is why they make money from their brilliantly correct answers...

Ask a VZW or AT&T employee the same question... All the good ones should get it right

how Blackberry and it's logo were being advertised throughout the baseball playoffs and not RIM....everyone thought I was crazy that RIM may change their corp. name.......

RIM used to put its name right on BlackBerrys, just about where "BlackBerry" is now. Can't remember when they stopped.

So it said "this company's series" which I believe is um, yeah...BLACKBERRY!! Company is indeed RIM but the series is Blackberry. And I can't believe this is actually post worthy.

This is not so unheard of..

One of the biggest Pharmaceutical companies in Canada is the same way. The Rexall, Pharma Plus, and other stores and brands are all owned/managed and legally umbrella'd under a company called Katz Group Canada Ltd. I bet a lot of people out there who live in Canada didn't know that, but does it REALLY matter?

To the generic John/Jane Doe user, RIM means nothing to them and they really don't care. Ignorance is bliss after all...

You mean Windows isnt a company?

Oh wait....Microsoft has something to do with that...right?

hehe

Anyway, the reverse is true some times as well. For example, how many people call the standard PDF tool "Adobe" instead of Acrobat?

Most people I know think its Adobe. As in "I cant save it as a PDF...I dont have Adobe" or "can you send that as an Adobe file?"

And whats really odd, is how blissful they all seem in their ignorance when you try and correct them.

I agree that Jeopardy messed up this question.

However, this begs the question (also as a minor RIM shareholder in my RRSP):
Should RIM be renamed BlackBerry Inc.?

The question /should/ be asked now.

Am I the only person who can actually remember when there was the Blackberry (which was black) and the Strawberry (red duh) way back in the day?

I read the q over n over again and its a correct answer.
'Bold 9000 is this company's (RIM) series of smartphone (Blackberry)'

Kevin, I agree with your post, most of my friends don't know the difference either. Although it would'nt effect me, I would be happy to see "RIM" go bye bye (not the company.............. the name). I'v been BB 7years. I'm pretty sure i'll always be #teamBLACKBERRY I don't use many apps, pretty much a social kinda guy (twitter facebook bbm.. maybe 5minutes of browsing a week..)

But, I don't agree with the video, I feel like because of the context in which the question was asked. Research in Motion technically (obviously) is the correct answer but Blackberry answer made more sense in that case of it being about 'fruit'

I also realized. Not that I care/into Stock but wouldn't there Stock name have to be changed to "Blackberry" toO?