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T-Mobile to yank BlackBerry phone stock from retail shops

Days after the beleaguered smartphone maker announces that it's in talks for a buyout, T-Mobile says it will stop stocking its shelves with BlackBerry smartphones.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
T-Mobile USA

T-Mobile plans to pull its stock of BlackBerry phones from its US brick-and-mortar stores, according to Reuters.

The mobile carrier's executive vice president for corporate services, David Carey, said Wednesday that BlackBerry phones have not sold particularly well with shop customers and that "keeping stock in the retail distribution system was inefficient."

While customers won't be able to snap up BlackBerry devices from T-Mobile's retail stores, the mobile carrier will continue to display the smartphones and people can order them.

"We will display and sell it in the store for those consumers who would like to see one," Carey told Reuters.

T-Mobile's announcement comes days after BlackBerry revealed that it was up for sale and in talks with a financial consortium to go private. This proposed deal is the culmination of dwindling phone sales and a potential loss of nearly $1 billion in the fiscal second quarter.

BlackBerry devices were once the most coveted mobile phones around and have continued to do well with business customers; but over the past couple of years, they've steadily lost way to newer, snazzier devices like Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy smartphones.

When contacted by CNET, a T-Mobile spokesperson confirmed that T-Mobile will continue to support the BlackBerry platform but is pulling inventory from its retail stores.

"Customers can buy BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices in T-Mobile retail stores, online at www.t-mobile.com, and through B2B sales channels," the spokesperson said. "The T-Mobile retail channel is moving toward fulfillment via direct ship for BlackBerry devices, rather than in-store inventory. A customer will still see a phone on the shelf. If inventory is not available in the store, the device can be ordered."

For its part, BlackBerry said it will continue to work with carriers and reach out to customers through a variety of avenues.

"BlackBerry is focused on serving users who want to be highly productive at work and on-the-go," a BlackBerry spokesperson told CNET. "As such, we will be working with our carrier partners to deliver BlackBerry 10 to these power users in a variety of ways -- based on carrier preference -- through the channel, in-store, or online. We want to ensure our users gain access to the technologies, features, and applications that will allow them to work more efficiently."

Updated at 5:55 p.m. PT with comment from a T-Mobile spokesperson.

Updated September 27 at 9:15 a.m. PT with comment from a BlackBerry spokesperson.