You know how you can tell you’re in trouble? When business change is happening all around you, even TO you, and your response is to pretend it doesn’t matter.

The CEO of Blackberry maker RIM has gone on the record as believing that Apps don’t matter. And literally he’s correct; most of the things we do with our SmartPhones on the Internet could be done inside a browser.

Is this guy ever missing the point.

It’s absolutely true that I don’t need a “New York Times App” to read the articles from the New York Times over the Internet. I need a browser and the URL to their web page, period. Of course, viewing a page that was designed for a large screen on my tiny SmartPhone screen isn’t fun, so I hope there’s a small-screen version.

That’s an app, folks.

Even so, there’s more to the conversation that that. On my Droid, I read the New York Times using a App called World Newspapers. What does that app do for me? It’s a virtual newsstand; I get to ALL the newspapers and magazine I read through one simple interface. World Newspapers then just frames the (SmartPhone formatted) versions of the periodicals I like inside their App—which, by the way, is probably a violation of many trademarks, copyrights, and patents.

OK, step back, now. Wouldn’t setting up browser shortcuts give me exactly the same thing?

It would. I don’t need World Newspapers. Like I said, RIM’s CEO is “correct”.

But those apps make my life easier, and that’s why I use them. Push to shove, it’s what make SmartPhones smart. If all you do is add a browser to your SmartPhone, you’re really just creating a dumbphone. Ask anyone who’s ever tried surfing the Internet on a regular cell phone. Dumb.

RIM’s CEO might be “correct”, but he sure isn’t right. Business change is sometimes a matter of adapting to natural change, and either RIM is admitting that they don’t know how to compete with iPhones and Android-based devices, or . . .

Never mind, that’s it.

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