T-Mobile CEO offers Positive Outlook on Blackberry’s Future

by Matt Klassen on November 17, 2015

It doesn’t seem that long ago that T-Mobile drove a significant nail into Blackberry’s coffin, announcing in mid-2013 that the company would be removing Blackberry phones from its retail stores, noting sluggish sales, which was subsequently followed by Blackberry’s announcement that it would cease dealing with T-Mobile altogether.

But oh how times have changed. Now amidst general scepticism and doubt that Blackberry will be able to mount any sort of revival with its recently released Priv Android smartphone, it seems the only voice of encouragement and optimism is emanating from T-Mobile itself, with company CEO John Legere noting that Blackberry is definitely “on a comeback,” and acknowledged that his company is working hard to strike a deal with Blackberry.

While this remarkable turnaround in relations between the two companies started in May this year, when a deal was struck to carry the Blackberry Classic smartphone, this sort of positivity between them would have been absolutely unthinkable a year ago. Of course as I said before, with Blackberry’s smartphone sales plunging, it hardly has the luxury to be angry at anyone these days.

It should come as no surprise then to hear that Blackberry is pleased with T-Mobile’s support. “I’m energized about our renewed relationship with T-Mobile and I’m excited about what 2016 will bring we continue to move forward together,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said Sunday in an e-mail.

But again, it wasn’t that long ago that T-Mobile was actively encouraging its customers to trade in their Blackberry devices for something newer and shinier, and preferably designed by Apple or Samsung. Consider now that their relationship has moved from simmering hostility, through general apathy, to a place where Legere is now optimistic that Blackberry has virtually risen from the dead, and Blackberry is happy to hear it. Truly monumental indeed.

As I mentioned, although optimistic about Blackberry’s resurgence, the company noted that there isn’t much in the company’s catalogue with Blackberry’s name on it. “While we don’t carry the Priv right now, we may have something to report soon,” a T-Mobile spokeswoman said. “We are definitely talking with BlackBerry.”

Granted Legere’s comments about Blackberry were brief, a terse answer in a word association game hosted by CNET’s Roger Cheng, one that Legere has played before. But given that Legere’s answers regarding industry rivals AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint were decidedly more insulting, admitting that his once stalwart enemy Blackberry is on a comeback is telling indeed.

As I mentioned earlier this year, when the companies’ frosty relationship first began to thaw, it was obvious neither company could afford to stay angry for long; Blackberry because it was still circling the smartphone drain, and T-Mobile because it had little to offer the enterprise sector in terms of reliable security (although I’m not sure the Priv helps in that regard).

All that to say, in an ocean of negativity, Legere’s positive outlook on Blackberry stands out not only because it stands as an island unto itself, but because it comes from a source that until recently, had nothing good to say about Blackberry.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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