BlackBerry breaks ties with T-Mobile after spat
Following a T-Mobile e-mail campaign encouraging BlackBerry customers to switch to an iPhone, BlackBerry announces it will no longer sell devices with the carrier.
It appears to be an end of an era. The BlackBerry vs. T-Mobile squabble has culminated in a break between the two companies.
In a rare move, BlackBerry announced Tuesday that it is not renewing its deal with T-Mobile to sell BlackBerry devices. The current agreement is set to expire on April 25.
"BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years," BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a statement. "Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers. We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned."
The tiff between the companies fired up a couple of months ago when T-Mobile started an e-mail campaign prompting customers to dump their BlackBerry devices in favor of an iPhone. That, in turn, rallied faithful BlackBerry users into tweeting the hash tag #CHOOSEBLACKBERRY10 to T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
Chen, meanwhile, responded in a blog post of his own, noting that he was outraged by the campaign, and felt it was "inappropriate and ill-conceived."
"I can assure you that we are outraged too," he wrote. "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."
While T-Mobile has backpedaled -- offering a $200 credit for new BlackBerry devices with older phone trade-ins --- it appears BlackBerry had enough.
BlackBerry said Tuesday that the feud wouldn't affect customers using its devices on T-Mobile.
"We are deeply grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers and will do everything in our power to provide continued support with your existing carrier or ensure a smooth transition to our other carrier partners," Chen said.
T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said in a tweet that existing customers would be able to keep their current corporate discounts. An official announcement is slated for tomorrow morning, he added.
Updated at 10:45 pm PT: To include a comment from the T-Mobile CMO.