AT&T says "We want RIM to succeed"

By Adam Zeis on 3 Feb 2012 03:49 pm EST

AT&T CMO David Christopher

In a recent interview with FireceWireless, AT&T chief marketing officer David Christopher weighed in on the current situation at Research In Motion. Christopher noted that AT&T believes consumers want choice, which is why they hope that RIM will bounce back. "We want RIM to succeed. We like choice," Christopher said. "They have a strong base. But they have to innovate quickly and execute.". Currently AT&T carries five BlackBerry smartphones, all of which are the latest BlackBerry 7 devices (Bold 9900, Torch 9810, Curve 9360 and Torch 9860) with the exception of the older Curve 3G. 

With the upcoming release of BlackBerry 10 devices like the BlackBerry London, things should certainly pick up across the board for both RIM and the carriers. If the things we've heard and seen thus far are any indication, the next generation devices from RIM will no doubt be strong sellers against the likes of the iPhone and Android devices. Newly branded RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has already said in his interview with Kevin that there are new structures in place which will help greatly in bringing products to maket on time -- so combining the new strategy with BlackBerry 10 phones, RIM should have no problem with either innovating or executing as we move forward. (Take THAT AT&T!)

Source: FierceWireless

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

AT&T says "We want RIM to succeed"



BlackBerry is the only smartphone platofrm that works for me and it odes everything I need it to and more!

BlackBerry user for life!


My storm2 is terrible.

I noticed BB7 devices have the same monstrous black hourglass-of-death.

I would go back to a physical keyboard device anytime, but only if it runs top-notch software, and BBOS is old-school java-based, with many terrible apps.

Im taking a wait and see approach in the hoping that RIM gets its sh*t together again

I had the Storm2 and I definitely agree that it wasn't a great phone. Very slow, especially if you had more than 1 app loaded on it. Although, I upgraded to a 9930 and rarely have the black hourglass pop up. Only when I'm running 3 webpages, 5 or 6 apps and sending emails all at the same time. I believe that BB10 will truly be amazing software.

Never been a first one... always a second.

I'm using a 9900 and a Galaxy Nexus right now and I hate the email (GMail) app on the GN. For a Google phone to have such a crappy email app is a crime. BB has them all beat in the email, security (hopefully) and mobile communication dept (cell phone, BBM). It's really an app game we need to play to make the offering more appealing and robust.

Your right about it being a very appcentric marketplace when it comes to mobile phones and tablets. For me, I message a lot, so the keyboard on my 9930 is something I wouldn't want to live without. And as far as apps, I have a few I use, but I find a lot of them to be useless. I am hoping the flood of apps is more of a trend and not a lasting model. Having owned an iPhone and an Android I feel like BlackBerry is the best phone/OS on the market, and I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who would rather have substance over games. Who really needs 8 weather apps anyway?

I walked into a Verizon store this past weekend looking for a 9930 case. Not one Blackberry on display. Sales rep said, "one of the last Blackberry fans around". My buddy in Florida also reported a Verizon store not carrying any Blackberry phones. Does this mean Verizon does not want RIM to succeed?

11 of the 60 smartphones Verizon offers on their website are BlackBerry. These include:

- Bold 9930
- Bold 9930 (no camera)
- Bold 9930 (pre-owned)
- Torch 9850
- Torch 9850 (pre-owned)
- Curve 9370
- Curve 9330
- Curve 9330 "Social Messaging Ready Smartphone"
- Curve 9330 (pre-owned)
- Bold 9650 (pre-owned)
- Tour 9630 (pre-owned)

So... not including variations or pre-owned... 4 new devices. That's 7% of Verizon's smartphone offering. Not bad. ;)

I went into a Verizon store shopping for a 9930 and the salesman pushed so hard for me to get an Iphone I walked out. I had to go to an "authorized dealer" to get one. And now they are claiming to have "sold out" of them. I'm tired of getting run around

I hate that you can't just walk into a Verizon store and get a BlackBerry. They don't even have BlackBerrys out on display. No wonder everyone has an Android or iPhone.

RIM needs marketing AND commission to the sales reps. Force the carries and retail chains to share the commissions with sales reps. Everyone knows, if the commission is higher, it's worth their while to learn and sell it.

Right now Verizon has to sell a lot of iPhones (agreement with Apple most likely) and the "Droid" brand marketing has to pay off. They are in for next to nothing with RIM and therefore don't have to push.

No. It means they are not bothering to sell when they can sit back and let customers walk in and ask for an iphone or a Droid.

I'm not sure if this is hypocrisy or is true. If you go to the AT&T website they have not a single marketing ad in favor of ANY BB device. They only promote the iPhone 4S and the GS2. Plus, their employees, not even one of them, recommends a BlackBerry, not even for professional customers.

Yep. Woman (girl, really) working at a nearby ATT store told me "We really push Android here. Talked three people into not getting an iPhone today." They had old Blackberry display stock and nothing visible otherwise.

ATT has the most selection of handsets, why not put them in actual stores?

That first comment bugged me. For a lot of people an iPhone is the perfect phone and an Android phone is a completely different experience. It can be a good experience, but there is not a lot of overlap IMO between an iPhone customer and an Android customer.

You get commission based on the plans you sell, not the phones themselves in most companies. The iPhone is just an easy sale and you always have to get premium data with one. So higher commission.

Given AT&T's data capacity issues (real or perceived), I'm surprised they didn't spend more efforts marketing BBs and managing demand by pushing more users towards them, since the data compression used by BBs would help ease congestion of the network.

Maybe RIM needs to show how a BB data plan goes further than one on an iPhone or Android device.

+1... When I worked at RIM I brought that up many times. Why not advertise how much more you can get from a BB data plan. The average consumer doesn't know that a 500MB data plan on the BB basically allows 3 times the amount of web pages to be viewed, .0002 KB per email versus .02 +.

But I never really got a response as to why they don't advertise those advantages.

Now that carriers no longer have unlimited data plans why wouldn't they want consumers to exceed their data limits and pay overages?

As bad as I have wanted the slider Torch phones I can't subject myself to the empire of AT&T. Verizon seems like they are laughing at RIM. Sprint seems to offer the best support for BlackBerry as far as phone support and service. They have a large business base and that might have a lot to do with it, on top of their consolidated plans. A little off subject but my opinion either way.

 user since the Curve 8330

Aww man. See if you can get an unlocked one online. The Torch 9810 is amazing (my personal phone of choice) and I highly recommend it!

"I Need Tools, not Toys!"

RIM is where I'll stay until the day they put shiny bling in front of form and function.

You people need to calm down, first off, personal experiences do not really matter much in the whole scheme of things. ATT wants RIM to stay alive, because they actually do, it is good for business, it really is, and for the longest time, ATT has backed it up with actions.

Such as having the Bold and Torch as exclusive phones.

Retailer employees do not always reflect the companies goals, they prolly push android phones because they know most people using those phones will buy a new one rather than hold onto it. I know a lot of people with Blackberries, who stick with them because they work, and a lot of people upgrade their droids because they don't work fast enough or run this app in an impressive manner.

ATT changed and upgraded when they were getting attacked for having poor service and now it is time for RIM to do the same

RIM doesn't have poor service. Their execution is top notch. Asking them to replicate Android or iphone is the problem.

I am a at&t customer and I think its funny the way this douche says he wants blackberry to succeed. I have had a blackberry forever and cant stand iphone and android. But if at&t wants rim to succeed how about advising the employees that if a customer comes in looking for a blackberry then tell me what blackberry has to offer. it took 6 months to make the bold available when people were having to petition them to release it. then when it was finally released I went to 3 at&t stores near me and none of them had any in stock. either the phone was very popular here or they didnt order enough. I have also been to 6 at&t stores and I couldnt even find so much as a screen protector for my bold. I had to order from crackberry which has better products anyway but the fact that this guy says he wants rim to succeed makes me laugh. I will believe it when I see it. oh and at&t offers the ipad and nadroid tablets, why dont they offer the playbook?

This guy sounds like he's disconnected from realities in carrier stores.

They need to have working phones on display and several salespeople in each store should know BB devices.

Does that guy even own a phone.

Anybody notice the irony of AT&T talking about consumer choices immediately after their failed attempt at moving toward a GSM monopoly in the US?

If AT&T really want the RIM to be successful, then they should release OS updates faster NOT slower to get rid of any bugs on current versions. Plus, items like mobile hotspot should be free under the plans like Telus!

He needs to pass this down to the store employees. Comments from them like "RIM's last gasp phone" and "BlackBerry will be going away soon" and the constant sales pitch for an iPhone when I came in and asked to look the new BB devices does not line up with his story. This happened to me in multiple stores and appears to be the company line at least at the store level.

I knew what I wanted when I went in but someone who needed guidance would not be leaving the store with a Berry. That doesn't sound like a strategy to give people choice when you bad mouth one brand and constantly push another.

Listen. If a rep can Jedi mind trick a consumer into buying a phone...tough. From the reps perspective the idiot left with a contract. Commission earned. I know it is harsh, but why would you ever trust a sales person? They are motivated by commission. If they can get you in and out with an Android quicker than a Blackberry thus allowing them to touch more customers... Guess what? They are going to push Android. Is it lazy and selfish? Yes. Is it surprising? No.

Did you see the last AT&T earnings statement? They sold 9.4 million smart phones. 7.6 million of those were Iphones of which "the majority" were Iphone 4S. The balance was everything else (Android, BB, WP, etc). (I got this from the conference call after the AT&T release of the Q4 earnings). When 80% of your sales are one product, you have no leverage with the producer of that product on things like the price of that product, terms etc. AT&T would absolutely LOVE RIM to hit a home run and change that ratio and see folks buy less Iphones and more Blackberry smartphones. It would be MUCH better for their business.

I was in my AT&T Corp store last month and was happy to see the famous white Blackberry kiosk was up front and center when I walked in the store with the 9810 featured prominently.

For the Verizon guys, I read last month that Verizon said any new smart phone coming into the store would have to be LTE compatible or they would reject it. Another reason for RIM to get the new phones ready for prime time.

As stated earlier, if AT&T wanted RIM to succeed why did they refuse to release the bridge for so long and then require customers to sign up for a different bridge plan than was being used by every other carrier? Second why does it take forever for them to release any updates for their blackberry phones. Other carriers have releases way before AT&T releases them.

If AT&T believes it can make money by having RIM survive then yes they want it to succeed. AT&T is only interested in their profit line and could care less about serving their customers.

AT&T considers the bridge tethering which they will allow you to do at a fee. They blocked the bridge because they considered it a "work around" which allows tethering without paying a fee.

They also block Android apps which allow "work around" for the mobile hot spot for the very same reason.

They are as slow with Android updates as they are with RIMs

"But they have to innovate quickly and execute."

If they could do that we could not have to EX-CEO's and the same clone phones from the early 2000's


I think you are wrong about the clone phones. People like what they are used to and if you can keep the basic operation of the phone the same but upgrade everything else why not? I mean look at the Playstation. It came out way before 2000 and the way you control it hasn't changed at all, all they did is upgrade what it can do. Same thing for X box, controller is the same, upgrade what it can do. Personally if RIM keeps releasing upgraded Torches with physical keyboards I will never have to think about getting a different type of phone.

I agree with you all, but I think because att knows that RIM still has the power to regain the strenght. Att knows that RIM can strike back. BB10 is a new flatform and if this is a new revolutionise OS. Then the device will be a powerful weapon against competitors. With blackberries durability, security. Well! I say Apple and Android should beware.. !!!

a friend of mine went to a Verizon store because she lost her BB. She asked about the iPhone & the salesman said if she was used to the BB she should get another BB. she got the 9930.
i love my 9000 even though it is ancient. i sure hope the BB10 will come out with a keyboard!!!!!
I went to an A&T store & the sales people didn't know much about the 9900 except that I would lose my unlimited data plan if I got a tethering plan for a Playbook.

I feel bad for blackberry.. I thinks it started dying because people wanted iphones because of the apps and at the moment iphone was on att only and everyone jumped to android because they were not on att.. Blackberry in my opinion are cool.. If it had all the apps iphone has then i will totally get a blackberry, and they have the best keyboards.. so rim you guys need to take action! I dont like my android no more because it gets slow, but im thinking of getting an iphone, like i said i would get a blackberry but I dont have an ipod to play my apps i bought.. And blackberry needs a slider phone and needs to get more phones on prepaid to get in more users

People in my age range (16-22) that used to use blackberry, now all have iphones for two simple reasons: 1) the front facing camera and 2) instagram. If RIMs new products have a front facing camera and can manage to get instagram in the app world (or something similar, not the crappy verisons now in the app world) they will be able to get their younger audience back that gave RIM such a large hike in sales 2 years ago.. I'm still a Blackberry user (I went from the curve 8520 to the Bold 9900 on ATT), though all my friends have now switched to iphone. I do love the front facing camera, but with BB software and apps like BBM make blackberry so promising, I couldn't get myself to switch. My parents and brother also have iphones, but I stick true to blackberry. All in all, if RIM wants to get their younger audience back, a front facing camera and instagram, or a promising, well-run app like it will do the trick.

At&t is full of it, they say they want RIM to succeed yet they are to date the only service provider who charges there customers for BlackBerry Bridge, for the 6 months following up on the actual release of BlackBerry PlayBook they didnt even support the Bridge application and said that it was BlackBerry`s Fault not there own. If you go to the apple product site the first service provider they recommend is At&t for all of there products. If you ask me At&t is a company that BS`s in font of the public eye says one thing and does something completely different. If you are a BlackBerry user who is on an At&t plan that is thinking of switching devices you should know your terrible experience is not really your BlackBerry smartphone its your bad and shaky provisioning AKA your service provider. At&t will continue to be bias against BlackBerry because they are on the Apple band wagon. As a firm BlackBerry User I will say that At&t will make ur BB experience awful any way they can.