Research in Motion, Canada’s technology giant, releases its much-anticipated PlayBook this week. The PlayBook, a tablet competitor to the Apple iPad, is enormously important to the company and some commentators have cited its importance to the country as well. This weekend, the Globe noted “there is a lot on the line for Canada, too, of course – not because it needs the PlayBook but because the country’s technology sector has come to rest heavily on RIM’s success.”
Given its importance, one would think that Canada’s political parties would ensure that their policies do not create unnecessary roadblocks or barriers to its success. Yet the Conservative plan for copyright reform (as found in Bill C-32) establishes a significant barrier that could force many consumers to pay hundreds in additional costs in order to switch their content from existing devices to the PlayBook.
The PlayBook may be competitively priced with the iPad, but the hidden cost of transferring content to the new device – effectively a PlayBook tax – may mean that many Canadian consumers take a pass.