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Dear RIM Legal, Enough with the Beta Zone User License Agreements!

BBM License Agreement2 BBM License Agreement 

I am all for RIM Legal protecting the company from valid legal threats but it is starting to seem like their bonuses are based on how much they can annoy customers in the BlackBerry Beta Zone. I am not talking about them holding up projects or being in dire need of streamlining. Today the subject of my wrath is the exponentially growing list of End User License Agreements RIM’s legal department wants their customers to agree to.

Want an example? Take the latest version of BlackBerry Messenger beta that was released in the Beta Zone. Even giving RIM legal the benefit of the doubt and saying I already have an account in the Beta Zone they have a serious proliferation of user license agreements happening. First you need to agree to two licenses to join the BlackBerry Messenger beta. Then another one to download the program. Then when you fire up the app and think you are finally done you are hit with yet another license agreement. The best part? This last license agreement is so long it is the equivalent of 46 full screens of text in size 6 font!

In my head I see one user agreement as reasonable, two is a bit paranoid, but four is simply ridiculous. Multiply that by each addon program or beta and insanity ensues. I just switched to a new BlackBerry Torch today and had to accept the user license agreement when I turned on the device. I then had to accept another one for Facebook, a second for BlackBerry Messenger, a third for Twitter, and the list goes on. Signed up for that nifty new BlackBerry ID? There went another license agreement…

Its not like RIM legal actually expect people to read this stuff though they force you to scroll down through it so why do they bother? Do they gain some sense of sadistic joy in not combining all of these legal agreements into one that simply says “I agree to accept every possible way RIM can weasel out of a warranty or legal liability unless they are specifically liable according to the law of my current locality” and be done with it? I am no lawyer but I feel like RIM needs to release a new Beta Zone app that automatically accepts all license agreements for you and sends a picture of a crying puppy to legalinfo@rim.com.

These license agreements are not going to make or break RIM but they really leave quite a bit lacking in the user experience department. Considering how RIM is focusing on “streamlining operations” is it too much to ask to streamline the legal-eze?

12 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I have stopped partaking in the beta program, unless it is something thats a must have, this one of the reasons why.

  2. I only use the Beta Zone for those coveted FB and twitter apps… W/BBM I stick to the leaks… BetaZone is a joke, a way to slow coders by giving us what they were gonna write up anyways…. Lol… No1 listens there, and our opinions count for nada, we get no real answers or responses… Pfffft lol they even seemed to have stopped updating their emails to let us know when they programs are avail… I rely on a friend who runs the BBBetaZone twitter for them lol…

  3. I remember going to a presentation on UI usability at a previous DevCon, and I think the presentation was even given by someone from RIM. At one point, they covered the annoyance of endless license agreement popups, and I think their actual example was the AppWorld license popup. They did one screenful per slide, and it kept going, and going, and going. :-)

  4. You only touched briefly on the most annoying part of tall this foolishness: the actual process of downloading beta software.

    Each number below represents a page load. The list below assumes that you have already enrolled in a given program – it’s several more page loads if you haven’t. Keep in mind this all has to be done on the (let’s face it – SLOW) BB browser.

    This is from my attempt to install the latest Facebook beta just now:

    1. Go to blackberry.com/beta
    2. Log in*
    3. Choose program link
    4. Choose “downloads” link
    5. Scroll down to where it says “application” and click the application link
    6. Tap “Agree” to Software Eligibility Declaration and click Submit. Theoretically you read the agreement too.
    7. Confirm your personal information in the form that’s displayed, click “I agree” again, and then Submit
    8. Choose language and click Download Now
    9. Click “Download” on the standard BlackBerry JAD download screen

    End to end, simply arriving at the page that let me begin the download took several minutes. That’s beyond ridiculous. I participate in four different betas right now – and that means when I reloaded my Torch, I had to click through 36 page loads to get the apps installed. (I could have made it a mere 30 if I did them all at the same time.)

    When you get news of a beta software update you have to go through all that Every. Single. Time.

    If you are smart and bookmark the download link for the next update… it barely matters. You only save steps 3, 4, and 5 – and that only if the download link is valid for a new version. That means you still have to go through at least six page loads to download a future update.

    And here’s my favorite part – if you’re stuck with a crappy connection (such as the one AT&T provides to Wilmington DE, but no bitterness here) – the download of a large app like BBM takes so long… that the final portions of it fail presumably due to session timeouts. I literally can’t download while in the city – it will fail 19/20 times.

    * and don’t make a typo even though the password has complexity requirements and you can’t see the characters you type on the tiny/virtual keyboard. If you do, you’ll have to re-key both email and password until you get it right. [As I had to do when following this process to write this post]

    • I simply have given up trying to get downloads from Beta Zone. Why on Earth hasn’t RIM just made BlackBerry Beta Zone part of BlackBerry App World?

      • They haven’t because they cannot force you to agree to this much legalize from App World. I have a running joke with a friend at RIM that they should have a legal jargon bullshit generator built into all RIM apps that make you agree to selling your kidneys on eBay.

  5. Constantly having to login to BB App World is an irritation as well.

  6. While I agree that they could make an effort and try to combine or substitute some eulas in the beta zone, it’s not that easy to do and it can be quite costly for a country like the US where the judicial system is crazy.
    As for the apps, each 3rd party service provider will have its own legal requirements that the user will have to agree to meet one way or the other, so RIM doesn’t have much of a choice but to present you the info when you first launch the app.

    • Its actually very easy to do… They just need to stop creating unnecessary paperwork. So easy in fact that Microsoft has been doing it since the beginning of the EULA. Think about the EULA’s you have agreed to in the past year. Now realize how many of them come from RIM? It is not RIM’s responsibility for you to accept Facebook or Twitter’s EULA. Even if it was that doesn’t follow through with BBM, the new Avatar app, etc.

  7. Its annoying but it doesn’t bother me much when i can just swipe thru and go :D

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