RIM owns up to fake Apple protest in Australia

Research In Motion admitted Tuesday that it was behind a staged protest outside a Sydney, Australia Apple Store last week.

Research In Motion admitted Tuesday that it was behind a staged protest outside a Sydney, Australia Apple Store last week.

"We can confirm that the Australian 'Wake Up' campaign, which involves a series of experiential activities taking place across Sydney and Melbourne, was created by RIM Australia," the company says in a statement.

Australian tech blogger Nate 'Blunty' Burr was the source of a first-person video account of the incident, which went viral over the weekend. Some thought it a bit too ironic for a tech blogger to be in the right place at the right time, and they were right. It appears that RIM tipped off several bloggers to the event, including Burr, raising suspicions the bloggers were paid for their coverage. That isn't true, says the company.

"Bloggers were not paid for this campaign or told what to say," RIM responds. "Neither RIM, nor any agencies on RIM's behalf, have ever paid Blunty."

Blunty says that RIM Australia had him sign an non-disclosure agreement that informed him of the time and place of the planned protest. "That's all it was. I wasn't paid, there's no contract involved here," he claims.

But why would RIM do it? Isn't the company refocusing on the business market, and wouldn't this be marketing to consumers instead? Yes, but that is part of a bigger launch aimed for this weekend, RIM tells PCWorld. The company says a launch on May 7 "will aim to provoke conversation on what 'being in business' means to Australians." RIM declined to elaborate on what type of product or service that may be.

For more tech news and commentary, follow Ed on Twitter at @edoswald, on Facebook, or on Google+.

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Ed Oswald

PC World (US online)

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