That was quick. BlackBerry is parting ways with Alicia Keys, less than a year after the recording artist was hired to come on as the company's "global creative director." The partnership was unveiled at an event last January when the company launched its BlackBerry 10 OS. Keys was tapped to "inspire the future" of the company, which took years to ready a new platform to more readily compete with the burgeoning crop of smartphones and tablets from competitors like Google and Apple. In a statement to CTV News today, the company thanked Keys for her service, without going into detail about what exactly she had done during her tenure.
Less than a year later
Keys' hire was just the latest in a string of celebrity endorsements for tech companies, though it came with some controversy. Prior to signing on with BlackBerry, Keys was an avid iPhone user, and had even developed an iOS app that let users add her image to their own photos. Just a month after signing on with BlackBerry, she sent out a tweet from her iPhone, something she later attributed to being hacked. She also walked away from a very active and well-followed Instagram account, which at the time was only available on iOS and Android.
Keys already appears to be back to using other platforms; the artist tweeted from her iPad on New Year's Eve:
Wishing u a blissful new year! Let go of our shadows; Old things,old thoughts, old ways. Lets step nto our light! Here's 2 the best 2 come!— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) January 1, 2014
The end of the partnership comes as BlackBerry continues its attempt at a comeback. The beleaguered company tallied up billions in losses last year, while shedding executives like CEO Thorsten Heins, who left in November, and was quickly followed by other top executives. Attempts to take over the company have also been scrapped, including one from Mike Lazaridis, who co-founded the company and was its CEO, though more recently has been selling off millions of his shares in the company.