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Open letter to customers: 'You can continue to count on BlackBerry'

Matt Hamblen | Oct. 16, 2013
One analyst says 'that's silly,' and urges the phone maker to commit to enterprise network support for 18 months

Egan said BlackBerry's letter could have been more direct, pointing out that many companies count on the reliability, security and performance of the BlackBerry network operations center. BlackBerry should have assured customers that BlackBerry will commit to upholding or improving on its service level agreements with its large customers. He even urged BlackBerry to say it will remain connected over the secure network with its 500 carriers partners for another 18 months, at least.

One statement made in the open letter — that BlackBerry has the best security of any phone out there — rang true to Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. Meanwhile, he added, "it's a bit of a stretch to say they have the best MDM and enough cash to survive on their own."

The problem with emphasizing BlackBerry's security is that saying so overlooks its lapses in building cutting-edge smartphones. And that raises the question of whether BlackBerry can continue to survive as a company that supports customers primarily in government and financial institutions, which are mainly interested in BlackBerry's secure network.

While it might seem the latest BlackBerry line of smartphones has little potential interest for buyers, Computerworld found a customer who last week purchased a new Z10 smartphone over the Verizon Wireless network. While he didn't give permission to use his name, the customer lives and works in Virginia and holds a technical quality assurance job in the medical field and plans to use the Z10 for work and personal tasks.

"I like it," he said, while thumbing through features on the Z10's touchscreen. Asked if he's worried about troubles for BlackBerry, he said he's bought products from companies that have "gone under" before and has found he's gotten plenty of continued support. "It's not a problem."

One analyst, Carolina Milanesi of Gartner, said that while Gartner has advised its enterprise clients to find alternatives to BlackBerry in the next six months, it was valuable for BlackBerry to issue its open letter.

"It was time they actually said something to their customers," she said. "Will it make a difference? Probably not — meaning that enterprises will be looking for an alternative sometime down the line. But it is good customer service to assure your customers that despite what is going on, it is business as usual when it comes to their level of support."


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