Dear Blackberry: Don’t Be Stupid

Periodically I will write open letters to tech companies, usually chastising them for interface, or some form of glitch. Now I write to Blackberry to chastise them for a marketing mistake, which really could be corrected.

Now, here’s my letter:

Dear Blackberry,

Rumor has it you’re releasing BBM for iPhone and Android on September 20th. You know what else is being released on September 20th? The iPhone 5S. Let me know if you see the problem yet.

I get the whole “it’s hard to compete in hardware” thing, and that you’re selling assets and becoming a software company in some sense, but that doesn’t mean you have to ruin every decision. The news on the 20th, and the 21st is going to be everything iPhone: iPhones sell out. iPhones miss expectations. Critics, and fanboys alike will be talking iPhone, and BBM will quietly make its entrance, shrinking further into oblivion.

Your goal should be to make your remaining assets as valuable as can be, and you definitely could do that with BBM, but to do that, you need to be the headline, not the footnote.

If you’re from Blackberry (and you may be, because I’m emailing this to your PR team), I urge you to push your announcement back a week, or at least until the following Tuesday. Everybody will just be receiving their newly shipped iPhones, and will adventurously try the new Blackberry app, which they will have heard about, because by this time people will care.

Don’t screw up another decision. Release it late, and enjoy success with your new app.

Good Luck,

Michael

P.S: I’m still waiting on my demo BB10 device, after emailing you close to 18 months ago. Any time now, I will

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Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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