BlackBerry CEO ‘Outraged’ By T-Mobile USA iPhone 5S Upgrade Offer

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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T-Mobile BlackBerry customers complain after being offered a free upgrade to iPhone 5S

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has slammed US operator T-Mobile for offering customers with one of the struggling Canadian manufacturer’s smartphones a free upgrade to an iPhone 5S.

Chen said that T-Mobile’s statement that the deal would be a “great offer for BlackBerry customers” was ill-conceived and misjudged as die-hard BlackBerry supporters were apparently “outraged” by the offer and complained to the operator.

“T-Mobile could not have been more wrong,” he said. “I want to thank our loyal customers for your commitment to BlackBerry. By expressing your outrage directly to T-Mobile ‎through tweets, calls and comments in the media and on blog posts, you sent a powerful message that T-Mobile could not ignore. Your partnership with our brand is appreciated by all of us at BlackBerry, and draws a sharp contrast with the behaviour of our long time business partner.”

BlackBerry outrage

BlackBerry Z30 HubChen added that there would be a special offer for all BlackBerry users on the network as a way of saying thank you for their support, and although the company was also angered by the offer, it hopes that it can maintain a working relationship with T-Mobile going forward.

“I can assure you that we are outraged too,” he continued. “What puzzles me more is that T-Mobile did not speak with us before or after they launched this clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion.

“I would like to remind [T-Mobile] that our long-standing partnership was once productive and profitable for both BlackBerry and T-Mobile. I hope we can find a way forward that allows us to serve our shared customers once again.”

BlackBerry will be heartened by the reaction of its users given its recent struggles. Chen is currently overseeing the company’s latest attempt to stage a recovery having seen its share of the smartphone market dwindle in recent years.

Chen has already made a number of changes to his senior management team and plans to return the company to profitability by March 2016 thanks to a strategy focussed on high-end smartphones for businesses, BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and QNX embedded software and connected cars.

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