April 2, 2014
BlackBerry Announced It Will Not Renew Contract With T-Mobile
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
On Tuesday April 1 it might have been mobile carrier T-Mobile that was feeling a bit the Fool, as BlackBerry Limited announced that it would not renew its licensing agreement with the carrier. T-Mobile’s license to sell BlackBerry products expires on April 25, 2014.
“BlackBerry 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,” said BlackBerry CEO and Executive Chair, John Chen via a statement. “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."
BlackBerry also noted that it will be working closely with other carrier partners to provide customers and even business users with alternative options should they decide to transition to another carrier and remain with the handset maker going forward.
The handset maker, which has struggled in recent years, also emphasized that existing BlackBerry customers on the T-Mobile network would not see any difference in service or support. This move doesn’t come as a complete surprise either for BlackBerry users – as the carrier announced back in September of last year that it would stop carrying BlackBerry devices.
While T-Mobile said it would still support the BlackBerry platform in February the carrier began offering BlackBerry users the option to switch to an iPhone 5s. The carrier reportedly sent emails to customers with the subject line, “Great Offer for BlackBerry customers,” and instead of being offered an upgrade to the latest and greatest device from the Canadian handset maker, the email offered an “upgrade” to an iPhone 5s.
Chen blasted the email campaign in a official BlackBerry blog post writing, “Late last week, T-Mobile emailed an offer targeting BlackBerry users on its network asking them to switch their BlackBerry devices to a competitor’s smartphone. As we were never told of their plans in advance, I can only guess that T-Mobile thought its “great offer for BlackBerry customers” would be well received. T-Mobile could not have been more wrong.”
Chen added, “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. I hope we can find a way forward that allows us to serve our shared customers once again. Notwithstanding the current challenge, we remain very excited about BlackBerry’s future.”
John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile , responded via Twitter noting, “Was going to engage John Chen on Twitter, but turns out he’s not here. I’ll check MySpace. Don’t worry @BlackBerry Something in the works!”
Andrew Cunningham, writing for Ars Technica, suggested that this battle of the lesser giants will have little impact on either company:
“Though it is newsworthy that a major US carrier will no longer be carrying BlackBerry’s handsets, it’s unlikely that the move will do much damage to T-Mobile's or BlackBerry’s business. After all, both companies have one thing in common: they're both in fourth place in their respective markets, limiting the impact to either company’s bottom line.”
At the end of last year Chen said that despite losses of approximately $5 billion over the second and third quarters of 2013 the company could return to profitability by the end of next year.