BlackBerry announced today it will end its licensing agreement with T-Mobile when it expires on April 25th, meaning the fourth-largest carrier in the United States will soon no longer be able to sell BlackBerry products. In a press release, John Chen, BlackBerry's CEO, said although the two companies had "a positive relationship for many years," their strategies were "regretfully, at this time ... not complementary."
The move comes after a lengthy spat between the two companies. In February, T-Mobile sent out promotional material to customers that offered discounts on the iPhone when upgrading from BlackBerry devices. Chen responded with a blog post, in which he said he was "outraged" by the "inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion." T-Mobile responded by offering $250 to customers wanting to upgrade from an older model to a newer BlackBerry, but undercut the placating gesture somewhat by also offering its BlackBerry users $200 should they switch to another manufacturer's products: a deal that saw 94 percent of T-Mobile customers with BlackBerry phones switch to a different phone maker.
Current T-Mobile customers with BlackBerry phones will still be supported
BlackBerry says that current T-Mobile customers using its devices "should not see any difference in their service or support," and that the two companies will work together to provide "the best customer service" to any users remaining on the network. Given the companies' histories and current trajectories, the move appears final, but Chen left the door open for a possible reunion in the future. "We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned."