After a bitter breakup in February, the CEOs of T-Mobile and BlackBerry are flirting with the idea of giving their relationship another try.
As a refresher on the relationship drama, T-Mobile US Inc. CEO John Legere took a break from attacking AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless early this year to go after its handset partner BlackBerry . It offered BlackBerry users who switched to its network a new iPhone, inciting outrage in BlackBerry CEO John Chen who took to a blog post to ask its customers to share their outrage with T-Mobile. (See BlackBerry's Chen Lashes Out at T-Mobile Offer.)
Legere conceded that T-Mobile would continue to support BlackBerry and eventually stopped the promo. However, Chen wouldn't stand for the abuse. BlackBerry decided to not renew its licensing deal with T-Mobile after it ended on April 25. (See BlackBerry Kills T-Mobile Licensing Deal.)
Now it appears the two are warming to the possibility of revisiting the relationship. Answering media questions after T-Mobile's Uncarrier 8.0 launch on Tuesday, Legere said that he's open to finding a way for T-Mobile customers to have BlackBerry phones, provided the handset maker cooperates. Chen then told CNet today at its BlackBerry Classic event that he was also open to it and should connect with Legere (although I imagine he'd like to do it in person and not over Twitter).
Chen's boldness back in February was a surprise given the handset maker's struggles in the market. It really wasn't in a position then to kick any operators to the curb, but -- then again -- it probably didn't stand to lose much by ditching T-Mobile, which wasn't a marquee partner like AT&T or Verizon, at the time. Now, with today's launch of the Classic throwback smartphone for BlackBerry faithfuls and the recent Passport launch, it's back to needing all the help it can get to promote its new devices. (See BlackBerry's Passport to Success Is Services.)
For T-Mobile's part, I'm sure there are a few rash things Legere says or does that he wishes he could take back (or certainly that his company wishes he could). This would definitely be one of them. I wouldn't be surprised if we see this erstwhile pair burying the hatchet and getting back together in time for the new year. The holidays seem to have a way of bringing people together that way.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading