In a way he is right software patches are indeed nothing out of the ordinary but there is a difference between ironing out some kinks or actually improving a device and just giving up on the idea that products should work fine right out of the box. In other words, Balsillie thinks it is acceptable to ship buggy products and expects consumers to deal with the problems until a patch is due.
His comments are upsetting, sure, but they also highlight some culpability in the consuming public who rushes into getting the latest gadget and is all too eager to get a good deal that companies often choose to take shortcuts to get their goods to market. Thats not to say RIM is the only company with products that had major problems at launch. The far more popular iPhone 3G ran into serious issues as well with connectivity, stability, and performance. Is this a justifiable practice or would you rather wait a bit longer to get a smartphone that is robust and reliable from day one?