Is AT&T Crippling The Blackberry So It Doesn't Make The iPhone Look Bad?

Over at Blackberry Cool they’re claiming that an AT&T insider told them AT&T had bullied RIM into crippling the Blackberry’s GPS features so it wouldn’t make the iPhone look bad in comparison.

Is this true? We do not know. The post claims an “inside source.”

From Blackberry Cool:

We’ve just received word from one of our friends inside AT&T that the US carrier has been successful in their attempts to lockdown the GPS functionality in their upcoming BlackBerry 8820 so that the only functioning 3rd party software will be TeleNav.

First, this is a major piss off to AT&T customers looking to get their hands on the BlackBerry 8820 mid-September, but what’s more important is why AT&T chose to do this. Apparently – and remember, this is coming from someone inside AT&T – the carrier didn’t want to launch a device that would seem superior (or be competitive) to the iPhone. Sounds a little crazy, until you realize that a GPS/Wi-Fi’d device with push email and no funny-texting touch screen that’s subsidized in price sounds a bit more appealing than a $500 device that enterprise customers can’t use.

We have literally no idea if this is true or not, but if it does turn out to be true, the T-Mobile Blackberry will be a bit cooler than the AT&T one. MacNN points out that the media-rich iPhone isn’t really meant to compete with the Blackberry:

…the move would be unusual for the carrier as it typically encourages the adoption of BlackBerry phones for business customers and only sees a small amount of income from TeleNav’s service, which is available at $6 per month for GPS use during ten trips and $10 for unlimited trips. The 8820 includes no camera and is generally considered at odds with Apple’s phone, which focuses largely on media playback and other personal uses.

Seems like a dumb move to us and an unconsumer-friendly move at that. If it’s true. And we’re not saying that it is. Just to make that abundantly clear.

EXCLUSIVE: AT&T neuters the BlackBerry 8820 in favor of the iPhone [Blackberry Cool via MacNN]