A year ago, the US-based subsidiary of German mobile communications giant, T-Mobile and Canadian wireless equipment pioneer, Blackberry had differences over T-Mobile having shown an ad asking users to switch to Apple’s gadgets, more specifically, iPhones. T-Mobile has been a long-term carrier of Blackberry in the US and other countries.
Things have not been too good for Blackberry devices in recent past. Merely 5 years or so ago, it was one of the most sought after a cell phone. All that changed with iPhone’s arrival. To compete with iPhone, Blackberry’s former CEO, Thorsten Heins, discarded the QWERTY pads and turned the devices into touch screen variety, but this did not help much because Blackberry loyalists started leaving the device. As if this was not enough, the spat with T-Mobile made a further dent in its market. Today, Blackberry commands about 1 percent of the mobile market share, which now has many players.
John Chen, the new CEO of the Ontario based company, has brought back the QWERTY system but retained the touch screen format. The move may bring back many of the Blackberry fans back into the fold. This CEO has also reconciled with T-Mobile, and that should help too. Effectively, Blackberry may report improved numbers in coming quarters.
The spat with T-Mobile hurt Blackberry more than it bargained for. While both T-Mobile and Blackberry are upbeat about this agreement, the fact remains that other players have captured some of Blackberry’s market share in the US. It will be difficult to bring them back to Blackberry. Moreover, there are many device players now, such as Samsung and LG. It is unlikely that Blackberry would have the lowest price to lure customers. It may also not manage to capture the Android market with its in-house OS. Therefore, the agreement with T-mobile is hardly going to help Blackberry or for that matter, even T-mobile.