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BlackBerry CEO outraged by US iPhone swaps

BlackBerry Z10

By Reuters

Posted on 19 Feb 2014 at 09:38

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has said he's outraged by a T-Mobile US offer that encourages BlackBerry fans to switch over to the iPhone 5s.

The carrier sent out emails to customers last week, pitching free iPhone 5s handsets and touting the promotion as a "great offer for BlackBerry customers".

That sparked a brouhaha across social media sites, after some loyal BlackBerry customers on T-Mobile US reacted angrily to the offer, which they perceived as a slight.

The backlash prompted T-Mobile US chief executive John Legere to respond publicly on Twitter. Legere said T-Mobile would continue to support BlackBerry smartphones and he assured BlackBerry users they did not have to give up their devices or "loyalty."

But in a blog post yesterday, Chen slammed the T-Mobile US offer as a "clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion," and thanked die-hard BlackBerry users for their loyalty to the company.

"Your partnership with our brand is appreciated by all of us at BlackBerry, and draws a sharp contrast with the behaviour of our longtime business partner," Chen said in the posting, noting that T-Mobile had not discussed its promotion with BlackBerry.

T-Mobile US later said it was happy to work with BlackBerry and promised free, faster shipping of BlackBerry devices to T-Mobile customers as "an additional courtesy".

Struggling market share

BlackBerry has been struggling to claw back market share lost to the iPhone, Samsung's smartphone range and other handsets running the Android OS. According to figures from IDC, BlackBerry's global smartphone share stands at just 0.6%.

The firm's new line of BlackBerry 10 devices has so far failed to win back market share, and Chen is attempting to reshape the company to focus less on the handset segment, and more on the company's services business.

Chen has stressed, however, that the handset business remains a core component for BlackBerry as the company attempts to engineer a turnaround.

Chen called on T-Mobile US to "find a way forward that allows us to serve our shared customers once again".

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User comments

Wow, can't even give people an offer these days without backlash (besides the expected one from BB).

It's not like they were forcing them to switch and I know people who have switched to iPhones once their BB contracts were up.

By tech3475 on 19 Feb 2014

Love in business equates to money

And Blackberry wasn't bringing T-Mobile the love they wanted.
I can't hate T-Mobile for wanting to sell a profitable phone instead of one that is in massive decline.
I'm sure if Samsung's had a larger margin per handset, T-Mobile would be pushing them at Blackberry customers.

Blackberry should stop bitching about the rats leaving the ship and try to stop it sinking instead.

By cheysuli on 19 Feb 2014

Short Supply

For reasons I won't insult anybodys intelligence defending, I've just had to source 3 BB Q10s; apparantly a "large governent order" has cleaned out the channel. Someone likes them.

By milliganp on 19 Feb 2014

Please swop

I have an old Nokia......... ship me that Iphone 5 anyday.

By Ip_pmjm044d1322b on 21 Feb 2014

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