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back to article BlackBerry ditches T-Mobile US after iPhone advert spat

BlackBerry has said that it won't be renewing its licences with T-Mobile US after the operator apparently tried to lure its customers away from its handsets and onto Apple's Jesus mobes. “BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years. Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and …

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BEEP BEEP BEEP

Mashing the self destruct button with their foreheads then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BEEP BEEP BEEP

The band begins to play on the sinking ship...

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Re: BEEP BEEP BEEP

"He wrote in a blog post that he was "outraged" by the campaign and couldn't understand why T-Mobile had run the "clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived" promotion without running it by BlackBerry first."

Perhaps, because, now let me think... they want to make money?

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I believe the term is "shaking in their boots".

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Anonymous Coward

Oh Blackberry

Surely the best thing for the customers (who are more important than Blackberry the company) is to be aware of all offers. Then they can make the best decision for themselves. So I don't see anything wrong with what T-mobile did.

I appreciate people don't like spam e-mail, but maybe these customers had accepted advertising e-mails, and it's not so irrelevant - how can T-mobile get into the minds of each individual to decide if they individually may want to be kept aware of other handset offers to not.

On the other hand, from a partner relationship perspective, I agree T-mobile didn't do the most sensible thing (if their relationship with Blackberry means much to them).

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FAIL

Face Facts

T Mobile only see customers as units of cash generation.

They see the crapple phones as drawing in those with more money than sense.

CrApple require them to sell the stock they have dumped on them at cost.

So T-Mobile try to push the units of cash generation to waste more cash on an ithing.

Carriers probably hate me, I still use my old phone as it does WHAT I NEED.

The new-things do not so they sit i a rack or get given away.

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Really?

"Great deal for Blackberry customers". Really? The guy who decided this was OK must be related by blood or marriage to a founder or major stockholder, right? Because no actual business person with a shred of sense would ever do something like that without some guarantee of personal immunity. More evidence that many of the people running these big companies are "bubble boys" with very little idea of how the real world works. I give a pass to the 20 or 30-somethings in marketing who came up with the idea in the first place. Their absorbtion with all things Apple is well known, and their bosses should factor it in when considering their advice. How does the old joke go? "If you took a brick, painted it white and called it an iPhone, they'd buy it." Good for Blackberry, putting up a fight. Maybe they're not doomed after all.

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Re: Really?

It is a great deal for those Blackberry customers who are looking to leave Blackberry, and considering Apple. Since it is obvious from your post that you despise Apple, you wouldn't consider such an offer, but perhaps in a few months they'll make such an offer for a GS5, or a Windows Phone device, and one of those might tempt you.

Those who are truly loyal to Blackberry aren't going to be swayed no matter what, but one can hardly blame a carrier for trying to sell their customers something new - and as part of the deal getting them to commit for 24 months, which is the reason why they're making the offer after all.

That's why I don't get this. Blackberry should be encouraged that Tmobile is sending this to all their Blackberry customers but they aren't all jumping on it. Sure, some undoubtedly did, but let's face it, Blackberry was probably going to lose them anyway if all it took was an emailed offer to convince them to switch.

By dropping Tmobile, in order to hold onto those people as Blackberry customers they'll have to be induced to SWITCH CARRIERS just to stick with that phone. Tmobile will now probably double down on them with even better offers to try to keep them as Tmobile customers, and Blackberry will lose more customers than they otherwise would have. That doesn't even count how many will visit an AT&T, Sprint or Verizon store and get the hard sell on whatever phone they're trying to push at the moment (which could be almost anything, but you can be pretty damn sure it isn't Blackberry!)

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Hypothermia

I assume most Reg readers know what hypothermia is? If not dealt with promptly hypothermia is almost universally fatal (among mammals). Often, before victims lose control of motor function and breathing and blood circulation cease they go mad as their brain is very, very confused as to why it has been forced out here in the cold only to perish (more in the footnotes)

Also not uncommon. is for victims who die from hypothermia to be found completely nude in situations and places where that wouldn't normally happen. There's a lot of speculation about the exact mechanisms that trigger the 'get naked and die in the snow, alone' behavior, but it is clearly the result of madness.

This is all relevant because Blackberry is clearly experiencing the same madness as victims of hypothermia and other very public corporate meltdowns. There's a time and place to stand firm on whatever commercial philosophies you've adopted, sure. But when you're about 549 moose (that's standard Canadian accounting jargon) below the black ink is neither of those things.

When you're dying due to shitty sales it's not the time to go cutting off sales channels of any kind, but yet plenty if companies do just that every year. Sales are down, so cut back on sales resources and marketing. Dumbasses.

Some fools might think there is honor in not swaying from the principles you advocate, and there may be some honor there. But I know what's not there: A job.

Without looking, who was the Captain of the Mary Rose? Ok, who was the captain of the #23 Hudson Auto Ferry? Don't look at me, I don't fucking know. But the Captain of the Mary Rose went down with his ship and the Captain of the #23 Hudson River Ferry got to shore. Guess which one got future job offers and became extremely desirable because he had successfully navigated (Ha!) a very dangerous situation? Here's a hint: It wasn't the dead guy.

So Blackberry, if you're listening, or care, fight the fucking fight for survival and come through it stronger than before and grow. But this complaining about the damp fodder for your horses when you've got no horses left is just insanity. Possibly even worse, it's giving up and committing suicide. Don't be a quitter you big bunch of pussies. Go all in a see what happens, what are they going to do to you if it doesn't work? Fire you???

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Re: Hypothermia

"When you're dying due to shitty sales it's not the time to go cutting off sales channels of any kind"

Even if said sales channel is explicitly trying to poach your loyal customers for a competitor? It looks like if they stayed with T-M, they would have fewer customers, not more.

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Re: Hypothermia

Fascinating rant, touching on hypothermia and the ethics of being in command during ship sinkings. However, for some reason it is attached to an article about the problems of BlackBerry in the US. Could you perhaps indicate which article it relates to?

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Re: Hypothermia

Even if said sales channel is explicitly trying to poach your loyal customers for a competitor? It looks like if they stayed with T-M, they would have fewer customers, not more.

Especially if said sales channel is explicitly trying to poach your loyal customers for a competitor!

T-Mob: Hey, why don't you try an iPhone?

Cust: No thanks, I like Blackberries.

BB: Stuff you, T-Mob, we're not selling you any Blackberries.

T-Mob: No skin off our nose.

Cust: OK T-Mob, give me an iPhone.

What they could have done is pushed the reasons why the customer should stick with a Blackberry on T-Mob and not be tempted by the iPhone; instead they cut off their nose to spite their face.

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Re: Hypothermia

Without looking, who was the Captain of the Mary Rose? Ok, who was the captain of the #23 Hudson Auto Ferry? Don't look at me, I don't fucking know. But the Captain of the Mary Rose went down with his ship and the Captain of the #23 Hudson River Ferry got to shore. Guess which one got future job offers and became extremely desirable because he had successfully navigated (Ha!) a very dangerous situation? Here's a hint: It wasn't the dead guy.

You assume the captain of the Mary Rose had the CHANCE to get to shore. Truth is, we don't know for certain just why she sank. All we can conjecture by the remains was that she sank very rapidly: probably too rapidly to make any difference. Also, the Mary Rose was engaged in battle, meaning it was under a different operating procedure. Put it this way, whatever befell the Mary Rose would probably be considered "unsurvivable" regardless of who was at the helm at the time.

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Re: Hypothermia

"What they could have done is pushed the reasons why the customer should stick with a Blackberry on T-Mob and not be tempted by the iPhone; instead they cut off their nose to spite their face."

I think the logic is that they'll concentrate on AT&T and start touting, "You want a Blackberry? Go with AT&T!" IOW, Blackberry loyalists (and it has a history because of its enterprise focus) may start defecting from T-Mobile as they change models, assuming they are on T-Mobile.

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Re: Hypothermia

Sometimes my analogies are appreciated, other times not so much. This appears to be a not so much event :(

It isn't nearly as simple as you've all made it seem. This isn't a 'T-Mobile is the bad guy/shitty partner story', not at all.

After the PlayBook fiasco, and in the run up to releasing their new OS and phones Blackberry had the entire US covered in Salesdroids, lawyers and marketing execs and they were spending enormous sums at incredible rates.

They were here with the sole purpose of pressuring carriers to not only keep their products in the carries catalog, but also to extend contracts. There were other things going on as well, but what it all boils down to is Blackberry being hyper aggressive and really pushing carriers to rework terms and convince the carriers to assume big financial liabilities by reworking marketing co-op programs and other incentive deals.

Basically, Blackberry asked US carriers to act as financial institutions. To prop them up until they got new products to market. Blackberry made big promises and assured carriers they could get everything sorted and get carriers back into the huge margins they liked with Blackberry products (Blackberry still holds the record for being the most profitable products of all the mobile carriers in the US).

The thing is, the carriers agreed to most of Blackberry's requests. Everybody in mobile wanted to see Blackberry get back up near the top of the pile. But Blackberry didn't deliver on the cutting edge hardware and OS they had promised. That left everything fucked up and carriers standing in the rain and losing money like mad because it was fairly obvious Blackbery wasn't going to turn around.

Blackberry left the carriers hanging and it's quite shitty for Blackberry to yank its products after the carriers had bent over backward for them. Without the carriers support Blackberry would have never gotten its most recent OS and phones to market. Blackberry owes its continued existence completely the carriers. Blackberry is effectively refusing to pay their car loan and then suing you for letting them drive the car. It's bullshit behavior on the part of Blackberry.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hypothermia

Really? The impression I had was that BB was pretty much dead in the water in the US and spent very little there on the OS 10 launch. Canada, the UK and even Malaysia got much more love. Why? Because, as you would expect, US carriers were in love with the iPhone, and with Apple and Samsung on board really did not want to have to support a third ecosystem. Even Microsoft has struggled to gain traction in the US phone market.

Obviously our unattributed sources have different tales to tell.

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Fascinating rant

Just seen the explanation for the rant hence the edit

Seamen and coming unglued doesn't explain it.

What we have here is a rant about a... WTF am I doing?

Explaining a rant on internet.

WTF!

I can't find a suitable icon. Now what am I going to do?

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Re: Hypothermia

That's the point, carriers absolutely hate the iPhone. Burn it at the stake, purest evil cut off its head and throw the body in the sea hatred. Apple has never been 'pleasant' to do business with and that hasn't changed since they created the patented iWant line of implied smugness products in blinding white.

Their carrier partners are under incredibly strict contracts with punitive clauses previously available only if Dick Cheney worked for you. Don't get me wrong, I like my iPhone just fine, and I respect (not like or approve of) the sophisticated Macumba they've engineered into their partner agreements, but I don't much care for the way they act like they're doing the carriers a favor, they sure as fuck aren't.

Outside of the retail contracts, iPhones are unbelievably expensive to support on your network and there are a lot of less than desirable customers who come with the iPhone. They've become a product that nobody wants to sell, but everyone has to sell because if they don't that customer demanding an iPhone will just go where they can get one. That's not a great way to get sales partners to love you. It's rather like having to hire unionized teamsters when you already have a truck fleet and trained drivers but the warehouses in that state won't let you unload if you don't play their way. It sucks. Making money and not losing money are two entirely different things.

Blackberry on the other hand, made carriers huge money, didn't demand your first born as collateral and had actually subsidized what infrastructure the carriers needed to support Blackberry customers. In short, they were the perfect partner for carriers. They actually cared that you benefitted from carrying their products. For a long time I held Blackberry up as a prime example of making shitloads of money without specializing in asshattery and extortion like so many other tech companies do.

They dropped the ball on forward looking R&D though, and they paid the price too. It's a real shame too. The entire mobile industry benefitted from Blackberry being involved as a significant participant.

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Anonymous Coward

Why do T-Mobile need a licence to sell BB phones?

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Huh? Probably because they want manufacturer warranty on the phones, let alone offering them at a price that allows them some profit margin vs buying them at retail, mailing back every phone one-by-one to BB etc...?

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Anonymous Coward

With how BlackBerry has been doing, they need T-Mobile more than T-Mobile needs them. The real losers here are the customers followed by BlackBerry. Keep digging BlackBerry, you aren't quite 6-feet down yet.

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What is the big deal?

When my phone was on T-Mobile (pre-iPhone) they routinely pitched Blackberry to me. And Android. Blackberry is simply proving their demise is well earned. Blackberry is afraid their customers might learn of better opportunities elsewhere.

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Carrier Loyalty?

It's interesting in all of this that the implications are that customers are die-hard loyal to a specific carrier. I can understand if a company has a long-standing contract with one, but is the average consumer rabidly attached to them? I've bounced between Vodafone, Three, T-Mobile and now O2 in the past decade, and can't say I have any particular preference (apart from never going back to Three. Ever); I'll just go with whoever gives me the better deal with the phone I want. Happens to be BB at the moment, so I guess T-Mobile's out of the equation when the next upgrade comes around!

On a side note, I note that BB are starting to sell more SIM-free unlocked phones direct through their website... perhaps this is the start of a carrier-free marketing model? Would that even work, who knows? But it'll be interesting to see if it does.

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Re: customers are die-hard loyal to a specific carrier.

Maybe, but probably not. In the case of T-Mobile, certainly not.

Case 1 for loyalty: Carrier has some sort of customer loyalty program that gives them more rapid or less costly phone upgrades with a sustained contract. Or possibly a contract that has a free replacement phone clause if the phone is broken or stolen. In this case, not so much a case of customer loyalty to brand as customer getting the best deal, but the marketing twits will still read it as customer loyalty.

Case 2: Punter lives in an area where only 1 or 2 carriers provide reliable coverage. Here in DC it use to be that if you wanted cell coverage in the underground Metro tunnels (light rail) you had to be with AT&T (IIRC otherwise it was Verizon, main point being only 1 carrier had relays). In theory all of the carriers are supposed to permit other cells to call on the network if you are roaming, in practice, not so much. There may be decent technical reasons for the 'not so much' but from the punters point of view it all that matters is his expensive cell phone is a useless brick.

As far as I can tell, T-Mobile doesn't fall into either of these categories. I hear people around here talk about AT&T, Verizon, or maybe Sprint if hard pressed. Never T-Mobile.

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Re: customers are die-hard loyal to a specific carrier.

Tom is absolutely correct.

It isn't customers being loyal to carriers, it's customers not having a choice. I'm in DC as well, our offices and primary fab facility is in nearby Northern Virginia and my personal, no clients, no business home and fortress of solitude is in nearby West Virginia (to make things more confusing if you ain't from around here, West Virginia is a standalone entity, one of our 50 states. Northern Virginia however, is the rather nebulous northern portion of the State of Virginia, not an entity of its own. I'm always surprised by how many people don't know that. That clarification may help in a moment.

I use Verizon Wireless for my mobile carrier which is just fine, as long as I'm not in West Virginia. Verizon wireless provides no wireless service or sales throughout West Virginia. That means I get routed through the US Cellular network anytime I'm in WV, which is good enough if I only need voice. The 1/3G service I get won't allow anything to be done online and even emails are nearly as worthless if they're not plain text. US Cellular service isn't what I call functional at the office so it's either carry two phones, or just deal with it. No way I'm carrying two phones.

The DOJ and FCC have what are likely some of the most screwed up 'competitive market' formulas on Earth and that's why there's no Verizon Wireless in WV. They traded the entire state for coverage blocks in other parts of the country that are showing population growth. It gets really complicated, and as near as I can figure the whole thing is like Calvinball: Random, confusing and unreliable.

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Yeah...

Yeah, when I log into VZW (Verizon Wireless') web site, I get ads just *begging* me to downgrade from an Android phone to an IPhone (and of course, give up my grandfathered unlimited data plan while I'm at it.) I think it's bad form to ignore your customers' preferences.

On the other hand, Blackberry cutting off a source of revenue seems like a dumb move. (Particularly seeing how angry the BB customers got over this dumb move of T-Mobiles...they *were* loyal customers. Emphasis on the were... the other US cell cos current data plans are a downright scam compared to T-Mobile's (they charge about double the price for data plans, and then charge cash overages instead of just throttling your speed if you go over your cap like T-Mo does), I can't see BB users who already deal with T-Mo's smaller coverage deciding now "Oh, I want to pay double to keep using a BB."

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