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 email@example.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?