BlackBerry CEO Chen Puts Pride Before Profits by Dumping T-Mobile
If all of this looks to you like BlackBerry's Chen is in a snit because of T-Mobile's bungled promotion, you'd be right. But Chen has a track record of being in a snit, apparently. For example, he recently sued an executive for not giving enough notice before leaving to work for Apple. One wonders how the company thought this would be a good idea. As things stand now, T-Mobile will have to stop selling BlackBerry devices at the end of April, although it can still dispose of any it has in stock. T-Mobile's CEO, John Legere, has pledged to continue supporting its BlackBerry customers with service, OS updates and so forth. One has to wonder how useful this will be if the updates BlackBerry provides to T-Mobile are as toxic as the one I got that effectively ate my phone. T-Mobile has already said (in a tweet from CEO Legere) that BlackBerry customers make up about 1 percent of its total customer base. This means T-Mobile can afford to lose its BlackBerry customers and not suffer much. But that isn't the same situation for BlackBerry, which is struggling to recover from poor sales, loss of mindshare and the panicked flight of its top executives. If there's one thing BlackBerry needs right now, it's to not alienate its existing customers and not make its potential customers assume the company is run by idiots. But you have to wonder what sort of CEO would voluntarily dump thousands of its most loyal customers because he was annoyed at a dumb mistake by a business partner. Clearly, there's a lot of pride at play here, mostly on BlackBerry's side.And unfortunately, that's what's going on here. It appears that Chen is still holding a grudge months after T-Mobile made a dumb mistake and tried to correct it. One has to wonder why he wasn't in touch with T-Mobile to discuss issues like this like (dare we say) an adult, resolve any differences well in advance and spend his energy on building up his business rather than tearing it down by trying to hurt another. Sometimes forgiveness is more than just a good idea. Sometimes it's also good business.
At this point, it's impossible not to think of the quote from Proverbs, "Pride goeth before the fall," which seems appropriate here. If I were a BlackBerry stockholder (I'm not), I would have to wonder what my company's CEO is thinking when he lets his pride get in the way of rebuilding the company.