T-Mobile's free iPhone offer didn't go over well with BlackBerry users or CEO

BlackBerry Z10
BlackBerry customers remain loyal

Update 2: T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert has published a blog post affirming the carrier's commitment to BlackBerry users and detailing a new offer for them.

"The passion we've seen from the BlackBerry Loyal over the past couple days has been pretty amazing. I want you to know we've heard you," he wrote.

T-Mobile's offer for BlackBerry users includes an extra $200 credit for any T-Mobile customer trading in any working BlackBerry device toward the purchase of any new device, BlackBerry or otherwise. If you choose a new BlackBerry Z10 or BlackBerry Q10, though, you get another $50 on top of that.

Sounds like a fine deal. But Sievert seemingly couldn't resist taking a dig at BlackBerry CEO John Chen, claiming that the premise of Chen's blog post yesterday (which more or less sparked this back-and-forth) was that "it's best for customers if we restrict the free flow of information and limit consumer choice."

Funny - we must have read a different post, because we don't remember that bit at all.

Update: A T-Mobile spokesperson sent TechRadar the following statement clarifying its current relationship with BlackBerry:

"Customers can purchase some of the latest BlackBerry devices from T-Mobile - including the Q10 and Z10 that we have carried since they launched. They can buy and direct ship devices from more than 3,000 T-Mobile retail stores and as an additional courtesy to our BlackBerry customers, we will begin offering free expedited shipping of BlackBerry devices by Friday. Customers can also bring unlocked BlackBerry devices to T-Mobile. We are happy to be a BlackBerry partner and apologize for any confusion."

Original story follows…

BlackBerry's most loyal customers responded angrily on social media recently when T-Mobile offered them free iPhone 5s, a move that BlackBerry CEO John Chen has called "inappropriate and ill-conceived."

"As we were never told of their plans in advance, I can only guess that T-Mobile thought its 'great offer for BlackBerry customers' would be well received. T-Mobile could not have been more wrong," Chen wrote in an official blog post.

He continued, "I can assure you that we are outraged too. What puzzles me more is that T-Mobile did not speak with us before or after they launched this clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion."

He said BlackBerry customers' "passion motivates us every day as we navigate our turnaround," and hinted at an upcoming offer specifically for BlackBerry users on T-Mobile.

Harsh words

Chen's words are quite an admonishment, but apparently the offer was so offensive to BlackBerry diehards that T-Mobile CEO John Legere himself took to Twitter over the weekend to respond.

"BlackBerry users, I'm hearing you loud and clear. Let me work with the team and get back with you," Legere tweeted.

"We give our customers choices, but you don't have to give up your #loyalty," he said in a follow-up message.

To their credits, both Legere and Chen have remained #allclass so far.

"To T-Mobile, I would like to remind you that our long-standing partnership was once productive and profitable for both BlackBerry and T-Mobile," Chen said. "I hope we can find a way forward that allows us to serve our shared customers once again. Notwithstanding the current challenge, we remain very excited about BlackBerry's future."

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.