Does T-Mobile owe BlackBerry anything?

Summary:T-Mobile hasn't been much of a loyal pal to BlackBerry, but then again the device maker needs to produce a hit instead of worrying about rallying customer outrage over the carrier's email campaign encouraging a swap to the iPhone.

T-Mobile targeted BlackBerry uses with an email offer urging them to swap to Apple's iPhone. The ensuing hubbub, outlined in a blog post from BlackBerry CEO John Chen, raises a key question: How much loyalty do wireless carriers owe smartphone makers?

blackberry

To be sure, T-Mobile wasn't the ideal partner since it launched its campaign, kicked BlackBerry while it was down and never gave the company a heads up.

Chen thanked customers and said:

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. I hope we can find a way forward that allows us to serve our shared customers once again. Notwithstanding the current challenge, we remain very excited about BlackBerry’s future.

The big question: What does T-Mobile owe BlackBerry? Customers have gone to other devices in many cases and T-Mobile would obviously like to retain those folks on its network should they switch phones.

BlackBerry and T-Mobile along with other carriers have been strong partners for years, but if the devices aren't selling perhaps loyalty only goes so far. Instead of bemoaning the situation and rallying mock outrage, BlackBerry's time may be better spent creating a kick-ass device that brings customers back. And then BlackBerry should give that device to every carrier but T-Mobile.

Topics: Mobility, BlackBerry, Smartphones, Telcos

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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