by Jin S. Kim
Last week T-Mobile emailed BlackBerry users with an offer to upgrade to an iPhone 5s for zero down. BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen is ‘outraged’. Chen’s response while not too surprising for someone in his position is a bit overblown.
If I were a BlackBerry user on T-Mobile and wanted to purchase a new non-refurbished BlackBerry phone on T-Mobile I only have one choice: the year old BlackBerry Curve 9315. (Yes, a more modern refurbished BlackBerry Q10 is also available.) I would have been wondering if BlackBerry is going to be around much longer. Whether BlackBerry will continue to sell directly to non-enterprise customers. Whether I should upgrade to an iPhone or Android or perhaps even to a Windows Phone phone. (I just have to take this opportunity to mention one more time — and this will probably not be the last time — how idiotic it was to name a phone operating system that ends with phone. It would be similar to Microsoft naming its PC operating system Windows Personal Computer. Okay, rant over, back to BlackBerry.) As a BlackBerry user on T-Mobile I wouldn’t be sure what I needed to do. This situation is not caused by T-Mobile, Apple, all the Android smartphone brands, or Nokia or Microsoft. BlackBerry’s incompetence is to blame. If Chen wants to be outraged he should be outraged at how much resources (people, time, money, etc.) have been wasted designing, building, marketing, selling, subpar smartphones, if you can call them that, like the Curve 9315 for so long.
I have no data to back this up but my guess is the Curve 9315 as well as the refurbished Q10 are probably not selling all that well relative to the iPhones and Android smartphones available on T-Mobile. Do you think T-Mobile would want to spend its resources trying to sell something very few people want? Of course not. And instead of letting its current BlackBerry users move to a different carrier with more BlackBerry devices to choose from — Verizon has five of them, including two that might appeal to a slightly broader crowd — T-Mobile is campaigning to keep them. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Here’s Chen:
Finally, to T-Mobile, I would like to remind you that our long-standing partnership was once productive and profitable for both BlackBerry and T-Mobile.
Even Chen admits things have changed.