Blackberry and T-Mobile: A love-hate……..love story?

by Tejas Mehta | Feb. 24, 2014

Last week saw an interesting and very public war of words between the chief executives of two of mobile world’s well-known brands – Blackberry and T-Mobile.  The social media war ignited after T-Mobile’s email offer encouraging existing Blackberry customers to “upgrade” to iPhones.  This was quickly followed by an angry retort from John Chen, CEO of Blackberry in a blog post on Blackberry website and the strong backlash of loyal Blackberry customers on social media.  T-Mobile attempted to limit the fallout by offering $250 for existing Blackberry customers to upgrade to a new Blackberry ($200 for other manufacturers’ phones). 

This whole episode illustrates how high the stakes are for both Blackberry and T-Mobile.  T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” initiatives in 2013 resulted in some success with growth in its subscriber base.  It can ill-afford to lose subscribers to competitors in what is shaping to be an even more competitive 2014.  For Blackberry, its slow and painful decline shows no signs of reversing and it needs all the carrier support it can get to remain viable.  Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp earlier this week (see Parks Associates take on this news here) underscores the importance of messaging in mobile.  Blackberry’s recent focus on its popular messaging service BBM by making it available to competing OSs, adding features such as free voice calling and channels, are all steps in the right direction, but given a relatively low user base that BBM is starting with, it remains a long hard road ahead for Blackberry. 

Parks Associates will be publishing an industry report covering trends in smartphone sales and market shares, feature trends, new mobile applications and services, and smartphone adoption among enterprise customers and consumers.



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