After a public tit-for-tat spat, BlackBerry and T-Mobile are officially parting ways. The handset maker has decided not to renew its license allowing T-Mobile to sell BlackBerry products when it expires on April 25, 2014.
The hubbub began in February. That’s when T-Mobile flat out suggested that BlackBerry users switch to the iPhone. Hardcore BlackBerry users got mad about it, which led T-Mobile CEO John Legere to respond on one of his favorite communications platforms: Twitter.
Legere tweeted: “BlackBerry users, I’m hearing you loud and clear. Let me work with the team and get back with you.” But it was too little, too late for some diehards. After all T-Mobile was heavily promoting the iPhone 5s at zero down as “a great offer for BlackBerry users.”
Where Do BlackBerry Users Go Now?
BlackBerry CEO and executive chair John Chen didn’t mention the spat in his comments on the split. He, rather, focused on how his company has “had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years.”
“Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers. We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned," Chen said. "We are deeply grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers and will do everything in our power to provide continued support with your existing carrier or ensure a smooth transition to our other carrier partners.”
So what does this mean for BlackBerry customers on T-Mobile? The company said its loyalists who are on the network “should not” see any difference in their service and support. That “should not” rather than “will not” phrase may raise some eyebrows, despite the fact that it’s clear BlackBerry fanatics will have to find new carriers in the long-term if they want to upgrade their devices.
BlackBerry vowed to “work closely with T-Mobile” to provide the best possible customer service to any customer who decides to stick with the network that snubbed it, or those who buy devices from the carrier’s existing inventory. Meanwhile, the company also made it clear it’s “working closely with other carrier partners” to give its fans more options if they want to move away from T-Mobile.
Parting Not Sweet Sorrow
We caught up with Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst who has been following the squabble, to get his take on the split. He told us it’s an interesting story about the push and the pull with BlackBerry
“BlackBerry is in the fight for its life. I like much of what CEO John Chen is doing. I like that he is moving away from BlackBerry 10 and moving back toward Blackberry 7,” Kagan said. “However, BlackBerry is still in the very early innings of their turnaround game.”
Kagan’s experience tells him that good and bad things happen in any turnaround of a company that has been decimated like BlackBerry. He pointed to the T-Mobile separation as one example. But does the split harm BlackBerry’s long-term comeback? Kagan doesn’t think so.
“This is a move away from T-Mobile, which has a very young customer base. Most of T-Mobile’s customers are simply not interested in BlackBerry. Not every wireless carrier has the same customer profile. T-Mobile apparently thinks BlackBerry has no place with them. It's as simple as that,” Kagan said. “That could change if BlackBerry has a significant turnaround. We will just have to wait and see.”
Image credit: iStock/Artist's concept.
Posted: 2014-04-30 @ 2:01pm PT
I work at T-mobile, customer care, at a call center. In a year, I have had THREE people call in using any of their devices. 3. Not once did I bash the platform, but honestly this dropping of a carrier move took me by surprise. But truth be told, I don't think we lost much of a consumer base - at least not given the paltry number of people inquiring about their BB phones. I still don't get it, but the point is: compare apple or samsung success to Blackberry. BB: you need to step your game up, you're the Atari 2600 competing against a Playstation 4. Get on my level (said every other phone manufacturer).
King of Siam:
Posted: 2014-04-19 @ 10:07am PT
@Ian Miller: You're my hero! LOL I am sure you will save the world with your idea!
Posted: 2014-04-06 @ 7:47am PT
lmfao...Im an IT engineer...Ive sent BB in Chatham...many emails on how to save the company...but did they get back to me you ask?...hell no...not even a thanks..but no thanks...I didnt give them idea...but it just goes to show you how this company thinks...they wanna loose in the long run...my idea would have gotten 90 percent of ppl to switch to BB and BB would have saved 900 million they didnt have to spend on asinine tablets..heres the good news...google likes the idea..i havent told google full idea...but so far some one there likes the tid bit i gave...so all i can say is BB is right where they made their bed..should have listened to ppl..
Posted: 2014-04-05 @ 11:43pm PT
So Blackberry is targeting the geriatric crowd? Why don't they bundle blood pressure and pill-reminder apps, that'll boost market share, yes?
Posted: 2014-04-05 @ 9:43pm PT
yes yes yes . Every one needs to drop t-mobile . They change too much.
Posted: 2014-04-04 @ 10:16pm PT
BlackBerry does not need anti- BlackBerry promotions...good riddance tmobile
Posted: 2014-04-03 @ 10:23pm PT
The only reason BB10 devices sold poorly was because of their lack of apps at launch. They now have a SECURE Android system built into BB10. So you can SECURELY run Android apps on BB10. Almost every reviewer praised the OS as fast, modern. People still associate BlackBerry with the old pre-2013 devices. Just hit Youtube and see a demo of BB10. If the last BlackBerry you used was a Bold or older Curve, you will be literally blown away to what BB10 looks like.
Also, T-Mobile reps were actively passing on misinformation about BlackBerry 10 phones, and telling users to never get them. T-Mobile was actually doing more HARM than good for BlackBerry.
Someone suggested BlackBerry make an Android phone. Android is the most insecure, fragmented, poorly coded IS on the market. There is no such thing as a secure Android phone. BlackBerry would have to throw away their amazing security to use Android. Instead, they built a secure Android system on top of BB10. So Android apps must pass through the secured BB10 OS to work. If they just has a pure Android phone, they'd be just as much a virus and malware super magnet that all Android phones are.
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 5:07pm PT
This was a mistake by BlackBerry, but this is typical John Chen "I'm in charge" style.
Had T-Mobile dropped BlackBerry, I'd have dropped T-Mobile, but now I'll drop BlackBerry. Might sound pedantic, but it is what it is.
FWIW, the reason T-Mobile hates the new devices is because the Z10 was flawed and most people returned them and then waited for the Q10. I am sure that was more trouble that it was worth. Q10 is the best phone I've ever had by far. Hopefully this one on my desk lasts a long time :-)
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 2:12pm PT
TMobile was such a PITA when I tried to upgrade to the Q10 back in December. I can't say that I blame BlackBerry for dropping them. It was worth kicking up a fuss to get my new phone. The Q10 is the best communication device I have ever owned, and unlike my husband's iPhone the battery lasts all day. His phone always has a dead battery. What is the point of that? I will be switching carriers the next time I upgrade my phone.
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 2:01pm PT
My wife was pro-blackberry but recently went through three Q10s before giving up on gettting a working phone and switched to an iPhone.
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 12:43pm PT
I noticed T-Mobile employees lead me away from the new Blackberry. The crinkled up their face and told me I didn't want that. Well sorry, but I've been using a Blackberry for almost 10 years and I would like to be able to at least see one and decide for myself.
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 12:26pm PT
I love my telegraph set and don't plan on changing.
voice of reason:
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 12:04pm PT
Blackberry should be happy any carrier wants it. Let it go blackberry. It's over. There's not gonna be a turnaround.
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 12:04pm PT
whats a blackberry?
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 11:31am PT
This is just another shovel of grave dirt in the long, drawn out death of Blackberry. I work for a very large corporation that is as stodgy about technology as they come, and we are moving away from Blackberry. Given the last time I looked there was one or two Blackberry phones available via T-Mobile, and who knows it may actually save T-Mobile money to not have to support this third, probably tiny product stream.
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 11:30am PT
Unfortunately BB burned its bridges long ago forcing users to seek more advanced products. The best it can do now is simply produce a phone that is similar to the Android or iPhone. After it does, who would want one?
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 11:29am PT
Funny that BlackBerry thinks it's in a position to "drop" anybody! I wasn't aware that carriers and customers are lining up at BlackBerry's door and they need to choose which ones will be the best. And how dare T-Mobile suggest that BlackBerry customers use another product! It's obvious that BlackBerry is the best. They have every right to be insulted and demand a vendor that will push their products at every opportunity.
Posted: 2014-04-02 @ 10:59am PT
I'm pretty sure T Mobile couldn't care less. The number of people who cares about Blackberry is dropping each day. At this point their share holders are going to start questioning if they can afford to do this.