BlackBerry CEO John Chen has taken to the Internet to defend his company after T-Mobile US unveiled an offer designed to encourage its BlackBerry users to switch to the iPhone.
An email campaign from the U.S. mobile operator dangling a free iPhone5 in front of its BlackBerry customers as a device "upgrade" did not go down well with some of the Canadian vendor's most loyal followers, who expressed their displeasure across social media outlets.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere waded in on Twitter over the weekend to assure BlackBerry users that he is "hearing you loud and clear". On Monday he confirmed that T-Mobile will continue to support BlackBerry and insisted that the email blast was simply part of T-Mobile's practice of offering device choices to its customers.
That wasn't enough for the BlackBerry chief executive though, who on Tuesday published a blog post on the subject.
"I can assure you that we are outraged too. 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," he wrote, in addition to thanking BlackBerry users for their loyalty.
"Your partnership with our brand is appreciated by all of us at BlackBerry, and draws a sharp contrast with the behaviour of our longtime business partner," Chen noted.
"Finally, to T-Mobile, I would like to remind you that our long-standing partnership was once productive and profitable for both BlackBerry and T-Mobile," Chen added. "I hope we can find a way forward that allows us to serve our shared customers once again."
What initially started out as a kick in the teeth for BlackBerry could now be seen as a positive development for the vendor, which has shown that it has the fierce loyalty of its – admittedly dwindling – fanbase behind it. This alone will not be enough to effect a turnaround at the business, but it does provide some hope that either BlackBerry or a future owner could see some (possibly niche) traction with its hardware going forward.