Early November 2013 brought with it some major changes at BlackBerry, including a $1 billion investment from Fairfax Financial, the ousting of then-CEO Thorsten Heins and the introduction of interim CEO John Chen, who BlackBerry said would stick around until it found itself permanent chief executive. Now it looks like Chen will be with the company a bit longer than most may have anticipated, as BlackBerry announced today that he is dropping the "interim" from his title.
Speaking to the New York Times, BlackBerry spokesman Adam Emery today revealed that John Chen has agreed to stay with the battered device maker until it's back on a solid financial platform. As a result, Chen has dropped the "interim" portion of his title and is now simply BlackBerry's CEO. As for the company's search for a replacement chief executive? "The search for a CEO has been put on the back burner for now," Emery explained.
In other BlackBerry news, T-Mobile today confirmed that it has switched sales of BlackBerry 10 hardware to direct fulfillment only. The magenta operator told CrackBerry that it has moved to direct ship rather than keeping in-store inventory and that new T-Mobile customers interested in a BlackBerry 10 device can order a unit from a T-Mo store or through its telesales channel. Now when a non-T-Mobile customer visits the carrier's website, the only BlackBerry device that's visible is the BlackBerry 7-powered Curve 9315. Existing T-Mobile customers have the option of ordering a Q10 or Z10 online through the http://my.t-mobile.com website. Despite the change, T-Mobile says that it "continues to support the BlackBerry platform."
T-Mobile actually said back in September 2013 that it was planning to move BlackBerry hardware to direct fulfillment, explaining that low customer demand made keeping inventory in stores "inefficient." Now it appears that T-Mo has finally made the switch, and while the magenta operator is still offering BlackBerry 10 hardware, the fact that it's no longer easily visible to potential T-Mobile customers browsing the carrier's website won't help BlackBerry in its effort to regain its former smartphone glory.