BlackBerry's break-up with T-Mobile: Good or bad move?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Sometimes in life certain relationships can go bad because of hurtful things that are said and not meant. This can be applied to both personal and business relationships, as we can see with the latest news that BlackBerry has decided against renewing any partnership with T-Mobile after April 25, a move that seems to have stemmed from an anti-BlackBerry e-mail that was sent out by T-Mobile back in February.
BlackBerry’s withdrawal from the carrier isn’t unwarranted. The promotion that was happening at T-Mobile in February offered T-Mobile customers up to $200 for old BlackBerry devices in order to switch to the new iPhone 5s. To further add insult to injury, it turns out T-Mobile never even discussed the promotion with BlackBerry in the first place. Imagine hearing that news from the grape vine for the first time - ouch.
It’s not like BlackBerry doesn’t have any new products out. T-Mobile carries both the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10, and although both devices are several months older than the iPhone 5s, they’re still fairly new and decent devices to use. I know that BlackBerry isn’t doing too well over all, but it does seem kind of cheeky to only offer the credit to BlackBerry users. It’s directly advertising against the company, who was understandably hurt by the move given that T-Mobile is supposed to help promote BlackBerry alongside the other platforms in an equal manner.
One the one hand, I have to hand it to BlackBerry for sticking up for themselves. I like what T-Mobile has been doing lately, but I have to say that the promotion did seem a little distasteful given that they still sell BlackBerry phones and all. I would have probably been a little upset about that kind of promotion too. On the other hand, BlackBerry is very much struggling with profits, and I’m not sure withdrawing from a company that is having such exponential growth in the U.S. was such a good idea.
I don’t have a lot of faith in BlackBerry these days. I got my hopes up a lot for the launch of BlackBerry 10 last year, thinking that they would finally catch up to what Android and iOS had amounted to. I also thought they would be able to take notes from non-Windows Phone users, who often cited their reason for not jumping to Windows Phone was mostly due to lack of quality, mainstream applications. However, while the new software managed to look good and the gesture-based navigation across the phone was pretty cool, there still managed to be issues when it came down to applications. Although the company advertised that they would be starting out with over 120,000 applications available on the market, 47,000 of them were created by one person. While you can sideload Android applications onto BlackBerry 10 devices, most people aren’t going to want to bother with that when they can just purchase an Android and download them directly from the Google Play Store and get as much support as they need.
It’s a really tough time for BlackBerry, and I’m not entirely optimistic about them pulling it out of it anymore. It feels like things only get worse for each passing quarter, and given that BlackBerry has very little (if any) plans to release more BlackBerry phones in our market, I do wonder how much longer they’ll be around in the U.S. In the end, I feel like sticking it out with T-Mobile, despite the disagreement over the promotion, would have bought them a little more time and money here. Yeah, it was a sneaky promotion, but I imagine that T-Mobile was still generating some sales for the company, and I would think that some would be better than none at this point. Although BlackBerry's CEO says they hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future, I do wonder if that will be possible before long.
Readers, what are your thoughts regarding BlackBerry’s withdrawal from T-Mobile? Do you think they should have renewed instead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!