If you’re one of the last remaining BlackBerry diehards, you can cross T-Mobile off the list of retailers selling the struggling smartphone: following a tiff with T-Mobile over an ad featuring Apple’s iPhone, BlackBerry has said that it will not renew the contract that allows T-Mobile to carry BlackBerry devices in its stores.
BlackBerry announced late Tuesday night that when its licensing deal with T-Mobile ends on April 25, it will not renew the contract. The smartphone maker said that existing BlackBerry customers on the T-Mobile network should not see any difference in service or customer support, and that it is also working with “other carrier partners” to provide T-Mobile customers with alternative should they decide to remain with BlackBerry over the longer term.
“BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years. Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers,” BlackBerry CEO and executive chairman, John Chen, said in a statement Tuesday night. “We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned.”
The rift seems to have originated from an ad T-Mobile ran last month that targeted BlackBerry users and tried to get them to switch to Apple’s iPhone. “Great offer for BlackBerry customers,” the promotion read, offering the iPhone 5s for no money down. ”Switch to iPhone 5s and get powerful communications and productivity apps with the ease of use that Apple is known for.” In a blog post responding to the ad, Chen wrote that BlackBerry was outraged, adding, “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.”
T-Mobile did not immediately respond to a Forbes request for comment.
This is just the latest in a series of setbacks for BlackBerry, which has been struggling to return to profitability. Last week, it reported a 64% drop in fourth quarter revenue (as compared to the prior year), but the stock got a lift thanks to a smaller-than-expected net loss. Earlier in March, the company was the subject of rumors that one of the last remaining high-profile BlackBerry users — President Obama, of course — was considering a switch, and that the White House was testing Samsung and LG phones.
Following news of the killed deal with T-Mobile, shares of BlackBerry opened 0.12% lower Wednesday morning. After plummeting 36.5% in 2013 trading, the stock has shown a bit of resilience in 2014, posting a 5.9% year-to-date gain. T-Mobile, meanwhile, opened 0.18% lower; year-to-date the stock is up just 0.33%, a rather disappointing start to the year after 2013′s 73% full-year return.
Source: Forbes Apple