Toronto - BlackBerry won’t renew its contract with T-Mobile US when it expires later this month following a spat about the fourth-largest US wireless carrier’s promotion of Apple’s iPhones.
Existing BlackBerry users on a T-Mobile contract will not be affected once the contract ends April 25, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said in a statement.
BlackBerry said it will also help its customers move onto other carriers if they want to keep using their BlackBerry phones.
“BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years,” chief executive John Chen said in the statement. “Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers.”
Chen in February chastised T-Mobile for encouraging users in ads to switch to iPhones, the device that presented the first real challenge to BlackBerry when it was introduced in 2007.
“As we were never told of their plans in advance, I can only guess that T-Mobile thought its ‘great offer for BlackBerry customers’ would be well received,” Chen wrote in a blog post that month.
“T-Mobile could not have been more wrong.”
The move reflects Chen’s more muscular approach in responding to critics and other threats than his predecessors.
In recent weeks, BlackBerry has taken legal action to try to stamp out product leaks and just won a court order convincing a judge that Typo Products probably infringed its patents with its clip-on keyboard.
Chen is working to revive profitability and sales growth at the company since he took over in November, however he said last week that revenue will probably not resume growth until at least a year from now.
While T-Mobile has offered BlackBerry’s Q10 and Z10 since they were introduced last year, the carrier began removing the device maker’s products from its stores in September, requiring buyers to have the phones shipped to them instead.
After the February ads ran, some BlackBerry users expressed anger on social media at the T-Mobile promotion, prompting the mobile-phone carrier’s chief executive, John Legere, to write on his Twitter feed that he had heard them “loud and clear.”
“We are happy to be a BlackBerry partner and apologise for any confusion,” T-Mobile said February 19, adding that it would will start providing free, expedited shipping of BlackBerry devices.
Anne Marshall, a T-Mobile spokeswoman, didn’t have an immediate response when contacted. - Bloomberg News