BlackBerry CEO interview: 'I cannot complain about carrier support'

Sitting down with Thorsten Heins
By Kevin Michaluk on 25 Mar 2013 12:00 pm EDT
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It doesn't matter how good a new phone is - if it doesn't have support from carriers, the odds of it becoming a success in a crowded phone market are slim to none. The biggest cost associated with a phone over its life is the bill paid to the carrier each month, and the carrier has a lot of power to influence what phone a customer will ultimately purchase.

Granted, many people know exactly what they want and will not be swayed. For countless others, however, the carrier's influence is strong. From commercials, to in-store placement, promotions and incentives, to the recommendations of the front line employees in retail stores, the carrier can maximize or minimize the chance a specific phone ends up in the hands of a subscriber.

We have about 1,000 people from BlackBerry that we will send into all stores US-wide

In the US, BlackBerry presence within carrier stores has been minimal over the past year. We have heard it often. Walk into a carrier store and it can almost be an Easter egg hunt trying to track down the BB7 phones. And if and when you find one, the odds were good the sales rep would try and talk you into buying something else. With support like that, it's not surprising that BlackBerry market share slipped in the US quicker than in other markets. For BlackBerry to build a strong presence in the US again with BlackBerry 10 devices, the support from carriers *has* to change.

With BlackBerry now rolling out the Z10 in the US and the Q10 soon to follow, I asked BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins during our sit down interview on the eve of the Z10 AT&T launch how he felt about upcoming BlackBerry 10 support from carriers in the US:

I cannot complain about carrier support, I really have to say. I think it's driven by their strong wish to solve the duopoly situation that they are in. They need a viable alternative, which BlackBerry 10 is to them. It's not just a knock-off of something else, of another platform. They helped us a lot, in the last one-and-a-half years, to actually maintain our installed base as much as we could. They were very supportive. In terms of presentation in the shop, in the points of sales, absolutely supportive, and they sometimes say, "We're rooting for you."  What else do you want?
They're helping. There is also investment on their side into marketing money, into marketing and promoting their product, and we have about 1,000 people from BlackBerry that we will send into all stores US-wide. They will counsel people, they will be known as BlackBerry 10 people, so we're supporting this from our side as well.

It's clear that the first few days of AT&T sales are not yet fully representative of the presence and support BlackBerry 10 phones will ultimately have within carrier stores. There definitely is more to come. With the T-Mobile and Verizon launching the Z10 on March 26th and 28th, respectively, we should see both carrier marketing and in-store activity around the Z10 begin to ramp up.

As for these BlackBerry 10 people... I'm looking forward to meeting some face to face. Let's hope they carrier the same passion for BlackBerry as members of CrackBerry Nation!

228 comments

JWNY

First

Posted via CB10

Luke Barrie

congrats.

ps: first reply to first post. I win harder then you

deezy87

You win harder than*** not then...

hoanglove8x

Congrats, you win a Z10.

itiswhatitisnt

it is completely true that reps @ any carrier will avoid making the consumer purchase a Blackberry. If you ask for it they tend to drag you towards an iphone. For some reason they always say to me when inquiring about the new z10 "haven't you heard Blackberry is going down"

I always say there not down there already coming up. You dont even know your product boy! Get out of face...I pull out my BB Torch and they fall back and say nothing. lol

I love it

#BB4LIFE

drewread

First what.... Tool to say first?

Posted via CB10

jogofeio

First non commenting NERD. Haha!!!

BruvvaPete2

You need to make a comment instead of just saying you're first; otherwise put a beanie hat on your head. :)

BionicKris

Yes! A "first" alone should not count as a first. It must also have a comment to be legit, lol. I haven't managed to be a first poster YET. But, when I do there will be a comment attached. ;-)

luddite2

Only dweebs do this. Hello, dweeb.

Thuggidy

The business world is a Crackberry nation they can't fight it!

npunk42

Yeah I heard that. It was the only question I think he brushed off. Still being diplomatic has its rewards. Being super diplomatic must have super rewards?

Coffee Addict

Fabulous! Slow and steady wins the race

BB Marissa

People on here would seem to disagree with Thornton on this one.

Posted via CB10

Kevin Michaluk

Based on what has been seen the past few days in AT&T stores... yes. What's clear from this interview is that the past few days of AT&T sales is not representative of what you will see over the next few weeks.

Beyond sitting down with Thorsten, have had a lot of discussions the past week. What's pretty apparent to me is that the US carriers were fairly slow (compared to other carriers around the world) to commit to BB10. Which you can't really blame them given the state of the BB brand in the US. But as January 30th came about, as the Z10 has rolled out in other markets, I think the carriers have gotten onboard. However, getting onboard a little late means there are already commitments that have to be fulfilled. In the case of AT&T I think you'll see the presence / awareness ramp up in a few weeks. Until then, it definitely feels more like a soft launch. Which is too bad of course - would be nice to be out of the gates full speed ahead. But I think either way it'll be fine - the people who have been waiting for BB10 know to ask for it. The people less in the know or on the fence will get onboard as things ramp up. 

Guess we'll see though!

garrett1972

There also could be a diplomatic approach from BlackBerry not wanting to seem to favour one carrier over another and once the other US vendors are on board, they can make the full push with all carriers...

camera531

That entire statement doesn't feel very optimistic...

lorax1284

The AT&T rollout says a lot more about AT&T than about BlackBerry... I assume that the store experience is not because BlackBerry didn't deliver signage / promotional material / train-the-trainer materials to AT&T in a timely manner... but that AT&T dropped the big round death-star-looking ball. Sure it REFLECTS badly on BB, but it's all down to AT&T mis-management.

scalemaster34

But AT&T didn't loose any sales or customers, but I bet BlackBerry did!

I went into a AT&T re-seller store and there was NOTHING. Was told I'd have to go to the corporate store for a BB. Most medium size towns have one corporate store, and maybe four or five re-sellers - I'm sure they aren't all like the one I visited, but still that is only going to hurt BBRY. And I don't see AT&T getting much better, if they don't promote it to begin with they aren't likely to do it later why they have much flashier device coming from HTC and Samsung.

I don't think BB will do good in the prepaid market unless prices go WAY down, but maybe Verizon will get behind BB once the Z10 and Q10 are both out.

lorax1284

It's not about whether or not AT&T lost sales in a general sense: the reasons why subscribers choose one carrier over another are complex... but don't you think AT&T wastes their own money and resources bringing a new platform like BB10 online, then only commits half-heartedly? They could have sold Android and iPhone devices without bringing BB10 on board, so to do so then NOT actively market them or train the staff or even INSIST that staff be prepared to demonstrate the device as competitors to Android or iOS seems like not the right way to run a business... kind of like offering a new product line in a grocery store, then not putting it out on the shelves.

scalemaster34

There is a difference in supporting a product and carrying it just to meet contract obligation. AT&T has to have BB's for all of their Gov & big Corporate accounts, so they aren't about to abandoned the BB brand.

Let's just hope that this is all the result of AT&T rushing things to be first, and that maybe over the coming days we will see more in store advertising and sales reps "knowing" what is going on.

web99

From all appearances, the performance that was generally seen from many AT & T carriers last Friday and Saturday was very discouraging. By this I mean

1. Many stores without any Z10 banners, displays in places where they could be easily seen.

2. Many stores without working demo units and clear instructions on how to do the basic functions of the Z10.

3. Many instances of sales associates that poorly trained or received no training at all. Resulting in a lot of instances where they were not able to competently demonstrate the phone to prospective customers.

4. And worst of all sales associates actively encouraging its customers not to buy the Z10, but to get an iphone or an android instead.

It almost seemed that in many stores, it was a burden and unpleasant task for the staff there to try and sell the Z10's that they had in stock.

I am sincerely hoping that the attitude displayed in the staff in carrier stores change for the T-Mobile and Verison Z10 launches.

Posted via CB10 from my spectacular Z10

lawguyman

"What's clear from this interview is that the past few days of AT&T sales is not representative of what you will see over the next few weeks."

How is it clear from this interview that AT&T support will improve over the coming weeks? I don't get it.

camera531

It's called "wishful thinking".

BB10fanatic

http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/BlackBerry+Z10+Teardown/13445/1?singlePage

I was hoping this would get highlighted on Crackberry. Sorry if it comes across as spam.

G-bone

Or...Perhaps...AT&T sucks?

#BB10Believe

meltbox360

Well documented fact. Carriers in the US generally suck. Carriers most everywhere usually suck.

aha

Kevin, SGS4 and HTC One will both be coming out in April... I think you are too easy on Thorsten on this one.

potatoguy

I agree, should have also told him that BB's own marketing plan sucks big ones also,
a group of 5th graders could come up with something more catchy from that what I have seen!
I wonder who the advertising company is who is making the ads?

RevyRah

Kev,

I'm an at&t customer, and it's been very apparent that the sentiment towards BlackBerry is not a positive one by 99% of reps I've spoken to over the years. Only one rep was literally jumping and clapping over the BB Z10 prior to launch. I never saw her again after that day.

Forget at&t's word on this, because it doesn't take much more than their actions to see where they stand. The boxing for the Z10 says it all. The picture of the Z10 isn't even on the front... it's on the bottom side of the box...

I'm not supporting at&t in the same way anymore. I Was the first person to purchase the Z10 in Norwalk, CT the moment the store opened the doors on the 22nd. While, I know I'm still on at&t, they won't get my in store service for anything until they really do an about face and support BlackBerry. I left Verizon after 12 years for essentially ignoring them and pushing Android so much. I'm not beyond doing that again if things don't change.

Posted via CB10

calvinmj

Hello Kevin,
I went to two AT&T stores. The first I had my son with me and I could not really play with the Z10 much less buy it. I ended up leaving with my son getting really fussy. I went last night to the store closer to home, just my wife and I. The demo was tucked away in the corner, it was in demo mode so that sucked. I asked if they could unlock it, the employee couldn't figure out how to get to the unlock screen (swipe down when in demo mode, it took me a second to figure it out). He didn't know the password. Next, I asked if they had a live phone, he went to the back and brought back the one he's been playing with and the battery was dead. He set it to charge and in about 20 min it was up to about 14 percent battery. I played with the phone and I like the experience. I do believe it would take me a few days to get used to the phone and keyboard. I still plan on buying the Z10, but AT&T is either doing a lousy job of marketing it. In my hour at the store, almost every customer was getting an iphone, I don't knock the iphone but I just don't think my time using one has been well spent. I miss my bb.

bee_rye

I think att carrier support is a joke. Its clear that att is an apple puppet. I think Verizon and Tmobile will do a better job promoting it.

Kat0908

I really hope Verizon and T-Mobile do a better job! AT&T's effort was altogether absent. Really disappointed in the way AT&T handled their launch considering they were the first ones to make the Z10 available they should have done more to capitalize on that. Shame.

JPSKILLZ

I posted this in the Forums, but I think it's appropriate here:
I have a new theory. Please let me know what you think. Okay. Consider this: It's not about the Z10, it's about Blackberry 10, right? So if this is the case then I believe Blackberry wants a relatively quite US release. It is not the carrier who sets the specifics of how a brand markets itself, it is the brand. The brand is responsible for sending the carrier all the necessary specs (signage, location, accessories, booths, lingo, etc.) of the release. Knowing this, then we can safely say that Blackberry made a conscious decision to NOT pour a lot of money into this aspect of the AT&T release. This will have even more validity if the Verizon & T-Mobile release is handled the same way. Now, I say all of this to say this, Blackberry is aware of its weaknesses which is the key to being a strong competitor. It's main weaknesses being apps (Which in reality isn't a weakness, but relative to today's naive market it is.) and OS bugs (Which take time to surface & fix, especially with a 1st gen. OS). Americans are relentless when it comes to these 2 facets of the smartphone game. Blackberry doesn't want all those clueless consumers to have a chance to rip the device more than necessary.

So to prevent this unnecessary bleeding, release quietly and allow the best part of Blackberry, #TeamCrackberry (80 Million), to be the main marketing. Just yesterday I literally, after pretending to be a naive shopper for 15 mins., trained AT&T's on-staff Blackberry Z10 specialist on how to use the Z10 for an HOUR! She had just bought an iPhone5 & iPad THAT week! Yet her reactions were: "WOW!" "WHAT!?" "I DIDN'T KNOW THAT!?" "THAT'S COOL!" "IMPRESSIVE" "MAN, THIS IS BETTER THAN I THOUGHT." etc. We will be enough to carry Blackberry into the next phase, which I believe is where they are truly looking to focus their advertising efforts. The undercover device that will be released this Fall! You see, by then, there will be enough true buzz (Market Share) created from the Z10 & Q10 to have Americans truly paying attention to Blackberry 10.

I believe Blackberry has turned to the most tried & true method of marketing there is... WORD OF MOUTH. Once a person believes in something, they become the walking billboard. Don't believe me, look at Apple users. Another example: The same day I trained the AT&T Z10 specialist, before I was introduced to her, the employee who was with me at first was so unbelievably Samsung that after finding and showing me to the Z10 she IMMEDIATELY started bashing the Z10, admitting that she had NO KNOWLEDGE of the Z10, and PROMOTING the **** out of Samsung. Mind you, there was an iPhone right beside the Z10 so it wasn't an AT&T/iPhone thing (They're dropping the iPhone so what sense would that make?), it was about BELIEF. At the end of the day, the employees are carrying the devices they BELIEVE IN and this is what is going to come out of their mouths. Belief is what is going to ultimately bring Blackberry back to prominence.

I couldn't have said it better myself "winter_hat," "PATIENCE." #BB10believe

Playbook007

Totally agree. The store employees push the phone they carry. They want you to be them. The BlackBerry faithful will carry this torch and BlackBerry needs us to. I show the Z10 to anyone who asks. And yes they say WOW!

Posted via CB10

Skyforever

I enjoyed reading your post, and agree with most of it. Not sure I would go with the word BELIEF, it has to be more than just "belief", has to be what you "know" (IMHO). At the end of the day the employees have come to know and believe in the device only if they like the device. The belief sets in, only if they like it. They know it first, because they have tried it and experienced with it, and later they come to believe in it only if they also like it. Thus confidence to talk about and to promote the device they know and like comes easy for them.

jgrobertson

Excellent!!! I think you have pegged it. I also found myself showing AT&T sales people how go use the Z10. I have personally had only about 10 minutes with one. But owning a Playbook and following the Crackberry posts, I know more than the sales reps. I expect an increasing awareness about the NEW BlackBerry.

daad20001

I agree, I really hope BB10 survives so we get to trully take advantage of all its potential.

JTG81

BlackBerry should be offering incentives to sales people like the ten stores that sell the most BlackBerry 10 devices win a trip to Bahamas or something of that nature. That is a good way to get the people on the retail floors to actually push the device.

Posted via CB10

mithar73

I think US support will be slow, marketing leading up to the launch wasn't that great. The best buy i purchased my z10 from only had 5 phones when the doors opened. Now what kind of support is that? I love my Z10 by the way

Posted via CB10

yuri0611

Haven't had a chance to see what AT&T has done but weeks ago when I inquired at the store in near Macy's in midtown about the Z10 (right before I got my white unlocked) they seemed pretty upbeat about the phone so I hope that carried through to the launch. Honestly, the success off the platform will be built on word of mouth and by people seeing it out. Advertising has only about 15% influence at this point in our culture where as social media and peer/friend review carries over 90%.

From personal experience, all my iPhone friends are super impressed with the z10 and are now exploring exits from their contracts or switching to carriers that already have the phone *cough*Sprint*cough*. I can't count the amount of times I've gotten "that's a blackberry??". Twice was when I was just showing photos from a recent project and had to stop mid discussion to show of the phone features before we could get back to business.

It's really up to us, those who love the device and genuinely have faith in the platform, to just be willing to show off the phone when people ask because to the average consumer we are not making a commission which makes our review and enthusiasm more credible.

shadocat

+10. I've been stopped several times becuase their interested to see how it operates. Keep up the good work people. Don't be afraid to show it off!

BionicKris

I'm all for converting the unenlightened once I get mine (and get hands-on). It will be interesting to see what kind of reactions a Z10 demo will elicit. Let the product speak for itself.

ibpluto

I think he's being diplomatic with this one, as he should. BB is not in a position to demand how the carriers should act....yet :)

If you compare to how the Canadian carriers pushed out BB thou, it is night and day. Perhaps we will see more end of this week when Verison launches, and there starts to be a friendly competition between the carriers in the US. Tough to gauge when its just AT&T

dj_matty_s

You better start complaining Thorsten. I want BB to succeed and be successful, as I'm sure most others on here do as well, but from everything we're reading, carrier support and marketing have been incredibly substandard. The fact that someone can walk into multiple AT&T stores in Manhattan and San Francisco and not see a single piece of advertising for the z10 is mind blowing. Meanwhile, the Lumia 920 (which came out months and months ago), has banners and is being pushed. I don't know if this is necessarily a problem with AT&T (they just aren't bothered), or if Blackberry isn't providing the proper resources and cash for these types of things, but this is a massive problem if you're really interested in gaining back market share. I love my z10 and am very happy with it, but as each day goes by I feel more and more like Blackberry really dropped the ball when it comes to marketing it sufficiently in America.

JonCBK

I'm pretty sure AT&T has an exclusive on the Lumia 920. Or at least Verizon doesn't have it. To get that exclusive, AT&T must have made a commitment to the phone. The Windows phones are the first phones at my AT&T store, then the Androids, then the Z10 and the iPhone 5 by itself in the back (with its own display as well, so not a bad spot).

shupor

I think he's just being diplomatic with his response. That being said, i saw the 1st ATT commercial yesterday on one of those reality tv stations yesterday. Forget which one exactly as i was just passing through my living room and noticed the commercial. Might have been Bravo or VH1

JPSKILLZ

I've seen 1 to 2 Blackberry commercials for the past week! With the majority being on NCAA March Madness channels! Proof that the PUSH is beginning.

BionicKris

There are usually a few BB commercials run during each NCAA tournament game. I didn't see one until the tourney started, around the US launch. I like this ad better than the $$<pricey>$$ one that ran during the Super Bowl. AT&T has their name & logo at the end of it. Otherwise I don't see many print ads.

Iamanonymous62

"It's clear that the first few days of AT&T sales are not yet fully representative of the presence and support BlackBerry 10 phones will ultimately have within carrier stores. There definitely is more to come..."

Why isn't the support there from day 1?(the 1000 BB10 people). Why is the answer to many questions around BB10 "it's coming"?
Whether its bug fixes, updates, apps, and now marketing support, I thought they had enough time to be prepared for the BB10 launch.

Kevin Michaluk

Read my comment above. Carriers a little late to commit to BB10 = other commitments to work through first before you see more presence on day 1. I get the feeling that's the scoop with AT&T here. But I guess we'll see.

randall2580

Previously we had heard enthusiastic carriers asked them to wait until this quarter to release because there was less "noise" in this quarter, and now this says they weren't ready to support them in this quarter but it will get better later? One of these things is not like the other...

camera531

I think the writing is on the wall

BBPandy

There's hunderds of carriers around the world, & only a few of them in the US. If you look at how carriers in other countries are supporting BB10 with store staff, promotions, advertising ect. You can see a LOT of carrier support.......just not in the US

Iamanonymous62

Where are the BB10 people, from Blackberry, who T.H. Says will be visiting stores? Couldn't they have started right from day 1? I would have had my people posted all day long at the stores to make sure my devices got promoted properly. This could be done regardless of the carriers "commitment".

jogofeio

You said it Kevin. I spoke to an ATT sales rep the week before I got my Zed10 and asked about commitment to the "other" phones and he agreed that they had numbers to meet and contracts to fulfill. I also knew more about Z10 than my sales rep on the 22nd and he was pleasantly surprised by what I showed what Z10 could do.

diegonei

Hey Kevin! If they need someone to be on location for the lauch here in Brasil, I'm available and quite on the cheap side. And I already have a Z10 so I'll be fully trained by then!

jojo beaconsfield

bb needs guys like u ,but don,t worry about the money ,bb's got lots of money.

diegonei

I'd do it for free, I really would... But heck, it's fair to get compensation if I am going to be educating store reps all day long. ;p

NotGoodIMO

May be volunteers from Crackberry can help! Free Z10 would help though. :)

donemt

I live in New Jersey and went to 5 or 6 AT&T stores and had to hunt for the display model of the 10 and the sales people were less than interested in helping me with the 10's workings! Can't wait until Verizon gets it!

maddie1128

Sorry- I don't agree with all the diplomacy............get on the phone and tell them to sell like hell. If they made a commitment to BlackBerry- this lackluster roll out is BS! I have to say this really ticks me off! (can you tell?) It's like telling BB - yeah I will sell your phones and then put them in the closet. Jeez! I don't see what advantage this has for AT&T unless they have their iphone quota to uphold!

Soeasy

Therein lies the rub. Tell them to sell... or what? BB has little leverage to play Tony Soprano over. They can't threaten to pull thier product from shelves here in the States...

Carriers would laugh...

They're not Apple or Samsung...

Yet...

kill_9

Mike L. makes a suitable stand-in for Tony Soprano. Send him to make the AT&T an offer they can't refuse. And he can crush walnuts in his hands while talking to the carrier. I can already see the lead story on the news broadcast.

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

kasedillz

I was at the ATT store in Union, NJ (on rt 22) and the Z10 was properly displayed with other smartphones. In fact, there was a Bold 9900 to the right of it and an Apple iPhone 5 to the left of it. What else do you want? You want the Z10 displayed on red velvet, on top of some Altar with neon arrows pointed at it??

kupfernigk

Tasteful suggestion that. Perhaps BB needs to have a word with the new guy at the Vatican, they are big on red. And with a billion followers who would need AT&T?

Upreti Saroj

I Ordered my Z10 from AT&T at a full retail price. They said its back-ordered. Bad news for me. Good news for Blackberry i think. They must be selling a lot of those. I guess it answers the question that AT&T certainly did not order those 1 million Z10. :)

Kat0908

Its only backordered because you didn't sign a contract. You better believe if you want to sign a 2-year agreement, they'll have stock. Jerk AT&T.

johnsoj2us

There were two bb10 reps at the att store that I went to Friday, I was the 1st person to purchase the z10 at that location and one of the bb10 reps took my picture of me with the phone

Posted via CB10

brinklej

It's hard to ""sell like hell" when best buy, AT&T kiosk, ATT corporate stores don't have a dummy phone or actually working units on the shelf.........

jon4400

Why can't BlackBerry sell phones outright like they use to? By doing so, their sales wouldn't be entirely dependent of the reps preferences or the Carriers' mood.

Kevin Michaluk

I would love to see BlackBerry offer direct sales. Buy an unlocked BB straight from them - would be awesome.

At the same time, they need to keep carriers happy. There's fine like to walk when you start talking about direct phone sales.

nhanken

I really hope you guys can show all the Yankees while you're in the US, that BB10 is a new, unique and intuitive OS and that they should give it a try~! Sway as many people as you guys can~! Get them addicted to CrackBerry ;)

Posted via CB10

Soeasy

Do people still call us Yankees?

kasedillz

Its ok, I still call the Canadians, "Canadians".

kupfernigk

It amazes me that the anti-trust people in the US don't look harder at the monopoly effect of the carriers on the phone market. I am sure the comparative success of BB in the UK is down to our large pay up front market.

lnichols

You mean the same carriers that don't seem to be on board with the launch?! I'm sorry but you know as well as I do if Thor could have said it with zero repercussions he would have said "The support we are getting from the US carriers sucks!". But since he has to do business with these people he says it is great, just like BlackBerry has said for the past few years while these carriers and their minions working in the stores have done everything possible to get people to buy anything but BlackBerry. This is looking like the BestBuy fiasco with the PlayBook and an untrained, uncommited, and non-BlackBerry sales force expected to sale BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry does need to look into some sort of direct sales method because carrier stores and Best Buys will not be in their corner in the near term.

Hopefully T-Mobile gives the phone hero status because it will be one of only a few LTE offerings on their new LTE Network.

PLTM

Steve Jobs said it best... the sales reps in the carrier stores and retails do not have Apple interest at heart, this is why we are going to open our own stores. Apple employees (having their employer/pay check at heart) selling Apple products, mean better educated consumers about our product.

I am not saying BlackBerry need to open stores immediately, but a very cost effective and immediate implementation would be to setup kiosks in the malls, staff with BlackBerry people that have BlackBerry at heart to educate as much people that is walking by in the mall about BlackBerry products and ultimately sell to these potential consumers. Carriers can't get upset because the person would be choosing which carrier they want to use that phone on. Win-Win.

Ultimately the carriers will see this and also want to out do BlackBerry as will and probably up their game selling BB products... still a win-win situation

In order to win, BlackBerry need to go direct to the people... cut out the middle man that do not have their best interest at heart.

kasedillz

Please, lets not waste anymore of the company's money with ridiculous theories. Apple has stores because the have a vast range of products that appeal to the consumers. What's BB going to offer? Blackberries and swivel cases? There is a reason BB shut down their retail stores.
Instead I would use that money to invest in marketing and ecosystem.

NotGoodIMO

Good idea!
@kasedillz, BB has many products too. Playbook and whole range of blackberry phones, including Z10, Q10 and more to come. Remember, Apple mainly makes money selling iPhones, that's more than 65% of their sales. Blackberry can certainly setup kiosks in Malls and get rid off the middle man. That's an excellent idea, especially when carriers are committed to pushing CrApple products. Remember, BB10 is not just about phones, it's about mobile computing. That means more products to come.

PLTM

@kasedillz, don't be a dum dum, having a Kiosk in the mall is the MARKETING that you mention they invest their money in. That is MARKETING directly to the consumer without the middleman, using BlackBerry people. BB has many products to place in this Kiosk including the swivel cases you mention. They have the PlayBook, many accessories, but the main selling would be education/marketing to the consumer on BB10 via Z10, Q10, PlayBook, etc... It also bring brand awareness also.

Also having the Kiosk puts them front and center rather than having a store location in the mall that you actually have to look for. With the Kiosk, once you enter the mall, the Big BlackBerry Kiosk is directly in your line of sight because its in the middle of the walkway.

That's MARKETING plus Brand Awareness. Money well spent.

21stNow

I'm used to ignoring mall kiosks, because they are usually places where you can find low-quality junk. If I were to see BlackBerry there, I have to admit that I would have a negative impression of it.

High-end smartphones where they pluck eyebrows with thread? No thanks.

bambinoitaliano

People read his lips. He cannot complain about carrier support. Unlike some of you, he can't just whine and throw tantrum at the carriers. He also can't spend the rest of the company fortune on US launch alone. BlackBerry is not Samsung or Apple, there is no deep pocket to dig in. Did you guys miss the precarious situation the company was and still is in?

darkehawke

This. People forget blackberry is not a big player.
The point of blackberry 10 is to put blackberry back into a position where they are able to ask questions of carriers

Posted via CB10

Dave79

Business fundamentally is made of two things: innovation and marketing. The US launch of bb10 looks pretty poor marketing-wise.

kasedillz

I absolutely agree with this. I remember when Google's Android OS was brand spanking new. All you heard on TV was those annoying."DROOOIIIIIID" commercials. They were the Geico of smartphones and it WORKED.

mzblues

There is good marketing and bad. I absolutely recall when Androids first came out. They weren't intimidated by Apple being the big boys on the block. No one new what the heck those ads were even for. But they just kept airing over and over those "DROOOIIIID" ads that although were "annoying", caught everyone’s attention and now Android owns the market. Most people didn't even know what these commercials were even about. It didn't matter. All that mattered was that "DROOOIIID" was subconciously embedded in everyone's heads and then when they started to sell, word of mouth became even more affective and spread like wild fire.

Blackberry's ad agency is missing the boat by ignoring the "Cool" factor that attracts the typical consumer. Forgetting what we on Crackberry know about the Z10, to the average consumer "what's cool about BB"...nothing. They couldn’t care less about the functionality, flow, hub, etc. All they care about is doing what their friends do and playing Angry Birds!

BB should dump their ad agency while they still have a chance to make a real mark in the US.

web99

This US launch is very critical to Black\berry, so they should be prepared to spend and market the heck out of the Z10 instead of acting like a spectator. Have you ever heard the saying "go big or go home" If they were not prepared to take full advantage of the US launch, why even bother launching their products there?

foxfoxcool

AT&T sucks. No more AT&T business from me.

Posted via CB10

axllebeer

I would keep to see some Sprint support for the Z10. I know it's been beaten to death but just really erks me. :(

Jonathank

I think it's gonna take a full 2 years (when people are out of contract).. Even on this Site you see BB fans say they have to wait until the contract is up before they can get the new BB. BlackBerry is Back and you will definitely see the change 2 years from now. BBRY is a long term stock In my opinion

shupor

By this theory majority of cell phone contract expire in 2015?

Jonathank

I don't think the word "Majority" was in my comment, Yes what I ment by this is that Today a verizon and tmobile customer upgraded without even knowing BlackBerry 10 was coming (Yes This does happen), he will see it a few months later and wont be able to upgrade SO YES sir that would be 2015 or close to it (18-24 months)

shupor

I see where you are coming from however, contracts begin and expire every day and unless a majority of possible US consumers have contracts expiring in 24 months, it will have zero impact on how well the platform does. I absolutely agree with people going on other platforms due to them not knowing about BB10 and this leads us back to the original discussion of sub-par marketing vis-a-vis carrier support or just poor brand perception.
Apple could very well hold the same argument that they would do well in 2 years when Android contracts expire and vice-versa. It's a never ending cycle and there will always be contracts expiring tomorrow and tomorrow will never end.

Nick Shadow

Jonathank,

It does not work that way, people go on/off contract daily. It is such a big rotation the industry watches it monthly, they refer to it as "churn". It is a closely watched matrix. As a point of entry, yes that is ground zero, but the next day, all is equal, at least from a contract standpoint. There are other factors, this one is anecdotal but it works. My wife has been eligible for an upgrade for about 4 months. For years she has been an iphone freak, but started reading about the Z10. She put in an order with Verizon the first day, the phone will be here on the 29th.

D.Vader

" In terms of presentation in the shop, in the points of sales, absolutely supportive, and they sometimes say, 'We're rooting for you.' What else do you want?"

If my AT&T and BestBuy was any indication they aren't exactly rooting for BlackBerry. Not even a sign in the window saying Z10 is here. Display unit wasn't set up and it was pretty far from the premier spot in the showroom (in front of the entrance). iPhone was there though.

paulmike83

Let them push the iPhone, it is a good phone and I did have one, but......The BB10 is much better and us BB10 users know it. It will catch on.

Posted via CB10

Jonathank

Yes Best Buy and ATT had a horrible release but I think Kevin is right Tmobile and Verizon will show more love to Blackberry Remember ATT is the HOME of iPhone which means they have more money so they got first dibs to sell it. Verizon will be an awesome launch

deremi

Based on what I've seen here and the stories. THis is how the article read:

"I cannot complain about carrier support[Except for AT&T], I really have to say. I think it's driven by their strong wish to solve the duopoly situation that they are in[Except for AT&T]. They need a viable alternative[Except for AT&T], which BlackBerry 10 is to them. It's not just a knock-off of something else, of another platform. They helped us a lot, in the last one-and-a-half years, to actually maintain our installed base as much as we could. They were very supportive[Except for AT&T], . In terms of presentation in the shop, in the points of sales, absolutely supportive, and they[Except for AT&T], sometimes say, "We're rooting for you." What else do you want?

They're helping[Except for AT&T], . There is also investment on their side into marketing money, into marketing and promoting their product, and we have about 1,000 people from BlackBerry that we will send into all stores US-wide. They will counsel people[Except for AT&T], , they will be known as BlackBerry 10 people, so we're supporting this from our side as well."

undone

Their mad that Verizon got the white one.

shebmiller

Can't tell if last sentence is a typo....

...or a play on words

Posted via CB10

misdeismo

I wouldn't be too worried as long as the T-mobile and Verizon launches are stronger from a marketing perspective. I have a firm belief that a good phone will eventually sell itself through word of mouth. There are 3 types of mobile consumers: 1) brand loyal, 2) defectors that know their options and 3) defectors that don't know their options. For BlackBerry to succeed those BB 10 people Thorstein talks of need to target the third group. Those are the ones who are susceptible to biases of the employees in the stores.

mnc76

Why the heck weren't these thousand people there in the days prior to launch???? The stock dropped 8 percent based entirely on the lack of AT&T support in stores! Citi dropped its rating of the stock to sell based entirely on the lack of launch day store support from AT&T!!

Posted via CB10

jojo beaconsfield

I think they move these people around every 3 or so days,but only after the launch which is supposed to generate buzz.if you're lucky you'll bump into one of them

zerobelow

The "no advertising in stores" is less a carrier support issue, and more a Blackberry support issue. Those displays are typically provided by the manufacturer, not the reseller.

Nick Shadow

You have no way of knowing if the materials were in a back room at the Store or in a distribution center. But they were requested, they were supplied. I work for a manufacturer in a cousin industry, it is a constant problem with resellers. I really doubt this is on BB.

zerobelow

However, if this was the case, that there's a pile of Blackberry marketing collateral sitting in the back room of each of these stores, don't you think that the people who took screen shots of the launch date/pricing would have posted pictures of the stuff rotting away in the back room?

Don't you think that at least some of the stores with employees who are blackberry fans would have put out the material?

Or do you think that AT&T sent out a company-wide memo ordering peiople to not post the blackberry collateral, and somehow that memo wasn't leaked?

Nick Shadow

Zero:

I didn't mean to get you all worked up. But I have personal experience that what I describe has, and does, happen. In absolutely all stores, all districts, of course not, but more than you think. The company is divided into regions and things are shipped from central disty's (supply points). If a couple of those shipments didn't get out to the stores, yeah, it could really pile up.

As for the conspiratorial email, I got nothing on that. Apathy, confusion, I can certainly see that, having worked in the channel for 20+ years.

Xopher

I can understand a soft opening, but it almost feels like a forced opening. Sales people not talking about the phone, little training, sales people trying to sway customers to other phones, and hard to find displays. Is that really what BlackBerry is happy with?

jojo beaconsfield

1000 people ,no doubt they will be supplied by a subcontractor.I bumped into one at best buy ,on a scale of 1 to 10 he was an 8,just because he was a really nice guy,but product awareness about what he was demonstrating i'd give him a 6,now we're heading into the Sweet Sixteen ,the Incredible 8 , and then The Final Four,i hope to see ads there. and about the MIGHTY 1000 i hope they are EXTREMELY well trained ,to be effective.

mnc76

To zerobelow: the carriers should be expected to at least put up signs given to them and to at least put out a single display model! I'm not sure you are aware of how bad the AT&T launch has been!

Citi analysts described it as "Shocking". Some stores kept all the Z10s in the store room without a single sign up or single display model out! The majority of the staff had no training with the device.

Posted via CB10

Mange Schillis

From what I read it seems as if Verizon already has better marketing in their stores than AT&T so hopefully it will be better, can't be much worse at least.

Mo Cat

In a year from now BB should bring out a kickass smartphone like the concepts we saw on Crackberry from www.DigitalHomeBoy.ca (TK Victor,Titan, etc)
People will stand in lines for such phones (if they were real) and if BB announces such a device, marketing will boost itself.

Kobena

I still think they need more than a 1000 BB10 "specialists", mainly because of the size of the US markets.

jojo beaconsfield

i agree but do the math,these guy's might make 200 bucks a day and thier company which is subcontracted by bb also makes a buck ,how much i don't know ,but i hope they are competetive and i'm sure tenders went out.so 200 X 1000 =200,000 a day .7 days X 200,000 1.4 million a week not counting the subcontractors fee which cld be excessive,i hope not .if this goes on for 1 month that wld cost 4.2 million plus the subcontractors fee????

rickytiffs

It is not about the carriers. I do not think that Z10 is bad or anything. I know that people already moved on from Android or IOS. So no matter how good Z10 is, people will still not buy it.

labyrinth9

I think it is pretty clear that if the incentives are for the carriers to sell android/ios, that is exactly what they will do. The want Blackberry so they don't lose potential customers, but there is a difference between support and "wanting them around".

I do think we will see more promotion from Verizon, but I am guessing that as far as the sales floor goes, the z10 will remain second fiddle. I think this launch is about getting up after a fall not taking the lead. With that said, (and I am still waiting for my VZW z10) I hope that BBRY is already designing the next device as well as all of that mobile integration we were promised (nfc money transfer, car integration, etcmmm)

For my third cent, I think the next phone should utilize a FLEXIBLE screen and interchangible housing (Instead of a case, perhaps available in hard rubber) A rugged but sexy phone which can marry the desires of the nudists and the klutzes.

06nasti

That sounds like BS. I visited two att stores and it was very disappointing. In one store the z10 was not even powered up. They blamed it on the charger and they didn't have another device to show. It was also sitting next to an iphone4 for $0.99 and a bunch of other cheap android devices.

I see zero support from att. The z10 is not even featured on their main Web page.

Posted via CB10

xBURK

We could talk all day, but when it comes down to it, this does not read well on paper. Even if it's not Blackberry fault, it sure comes across as exactly that. All the tech headlines can now print "Blackberry doesn't care about the States" Sure, that's not true, but to the people who Blackberry needs to target, they will think it is.

bud jorgenson

I believe one of the most important keys to success isn't the carrier support but how BlackBerry is supported by the salesperson on the floor. I always ask the young folks working in the stores on their thoughts on the Z10 and I have yet to hear a positive response. Future Shop this weekend the salesman said "The phone isn't good and what did you expect ". He has no idea that I own a Z10 he just thought I was a potential client??? BlackBerry needs to get some reps in to visit these retail outlets and do some product training asap because the carriers can buy the phone but if no one is selling it to the public then there's a problem!

Posted via CB10

Sirhill

I had a similar experience at an att store where the guy that help me had no idea about the device, all he could say was that it was a much better blackberry but it had not apps from what he was told. But the best buy I went to the rep was a die hard BlackBerry fan and knew all about the phone. The last thing that came out of his mouth was the lack of apps. But he backed that up with the fact that you could side load apps then he showed me his Z10 where he had instagram, netflix and many more Apps. It was such a good experience that two other customers bought a Z10 that was standing by looking on with me. Not wanting to say that I knew this info I acted like the other two guys. We all walked out with BlackBerry that day.

Posted via CB10

Boots4283

I think it is more about the individual stores(for AT&T) and how their employees react to the launch.
A: "hey guys look we got marketing materials for the BlackBerry Z10"
B: "LOL like we are going to put that up! BlackBerry is dead! Besides do we get a kickback?"
C: No, A & B we don't.
A&B: Well fuck that! We won't put any of this up or promote this phone until we are force to by corporate.

I really see this happening. Not putting up a live demo in stores? That is COB. I bet any newer phone they will move it up toward the front, just because it doesn't say BlackBerry. All of this evident in the CB forums. Some stores have great support while the others could give 2 shits less.

xBURK

At least we are hearing some positive news on the forums about people's AT&T experiences. Not many, but it's a start.

houshinto#IM

He knows the carriers have been doing a cruddy job but he cannot say it. He's not going to go shooting the very people his business needs to sell his product. His comments at the Best Buy theatre launch is, i think, more truthful to how he feels. Telling the Blackberry users/enthusiasts to "Sell like Hell!" cause the carrier here probably won't.

lexsteryo

I'm getting mixed information from att stores. Locally, not much talk from them with blackberry 10 but my travel to Minneapolis and different story.

PegBerry

I think Blackberry should have a physical store in major cities. Apple and Microsoft have a physical stores here in Los Angeles. Apple in the Grove with heavy foot traffic and Microsoft in Century City same with heavy foot traffic. Where is Blackberry store?. No where to be found. A good sport here in Los Angeles for Blackberry will be Santa Monica city right in the mall or where there is all the attractions. Santa Monica is noted for its International or European city. I had a problem with my playbook and I went to Best Buy to get it fix. I was told they have to ship my PlayBook back to Canada. I said hell No :). I don't want to part away from my BABY. LoL. Not having a physical store, is also driving people away from the product. Remember Blackberry product are very good. I know it, I use them. We can go to Blackberry store, shop and interact with the sales people, as well as the technicians . We the users of Blackberry product need a physical location. It could be done and also Blackberry magazines. Where are the publishers? huh!!!!!!!!!!!!

blackberryto

I think lost in all of the negativity today was a report from Peter Misek from Jeffries which indicated that his sources tell him the 1 million unit order was from Verizon as they have had strong indications from their business clients. People forget that Verizon played a very big role in making Android what it is today - without Verizon's support out of the gate, it may never have got the legs it needed to take off. AT&T clearly committed to Windows as the 3rd mobile OS and has been pushing the Lumia 920. That has not really worked for them, but they have committed to it. The Z10 will be Verizon's opportunity to create a 3rd mobile OS I think, and I suspect a big push will come from Big Red. As has been said many times, word of mouth is more important than any advertising, but as long as they have 1 or 2 (I suspect T-Mobile will also be very supportive) carriers doing some pushing, the word of mouth can be allowed to do its thing.

araskin

of course "he cant complain"! He needs them more then they need him.

I am sure he is very unhappy with ATT (though he probably knew beforehand that they werent really going to support BB 10). My guess is that Verizon got the white Z10 exclusively in returns for some sort of commitment (ie. proper advertising, in store displays etc). Maybe BBRY is hoping that once Big Red is marketing and selling the product well the other carriers will 'fall in line'.

independentvolume

I think TMO is the best bet. AT&T and Verizon are pushing WP8 devices because they make the most money off of those devices. The US is going to be a hard mountain for BlackBerry to climb.

Maal628

I don't trust US carriers to sell BB10 devices like they should be. I already have reps from carriers telling me that it's too late for BlackBerry...which is a shame. So I don't think they're going to sway people to buy a Z10 or Q10 unless you walk in and ask about it. smh

xBURK

Don't blame him for his comments. If he truly said what he felt, they probably couldn't have printed it.

Posted via CB10

AUgirl_inTX

Except for Sprint's lame a$$! They are going to lose alot of faithful customers because their deal with Apple!

XboxTimo

It's amazing to me that the US market is so key to Blackberry's survival. Sure its an important market, but so is the rest of the world! He'll I went into a flagship Vodacom store this past weekend and there was Z10 advertising everywhere ( even stickers on the floor!) and the sales reps new everything about the device. So my point is the carriers should take most of the blame for the lack advertising etc.

Posted via CB10

independentvolume

BlackBerries market share isn't the carriers problem XboxTimo, Why would the carriers dump a bunch of resources into something with 5% or less market share. A lot of you are asking way too much of these carriers. Also, if you think Verizon will be much better than ATT you're in for a rude awakening.

jwyoungy

They dumped alot of advertising into the iPhone when it came out in 2007 with 0% market share

independentvolume

Pretty sure they did so because of the obligations they had to Apple. That iphone completely changed the game and I'm sure ATT knew it would at first glance. The Z10 isn't that kind of device.

potatoguy

From what I remember ATT had exculsive rights to the IPhone when it first came out. No other carrier were allowed to sell them.

Nick Shadow

Xbox:

I have often thought the same thing. The second largest retailer in the world, behind Wal-Mart, is Carrefour of France. Stores in the US (last I checked) ZERO!

The problem is that the stock is traded here and the US is pretty sure only the US matters. So until numbers show solid fundamentals, it is going to be a bumpy ride, which is understated at best, like Everest is a pretty big hill.

potatoguy

Walmart in Canada has it front and centre on display right beside the IPhone and with billboards at the entrance of the store. 2 demo maodels , white and the black one.

Linda9600

QUOTE: "With the T-Mobile and Verizon launching the Z10 on March 26th and 28th, respectively, we should see both carrier marketing and in-store activity around the Z10 begin to ramp up."

I sure hope so!!! I'm so sick of hearing BlackBerry be the laughingstock of the industry in the USA.

blkbeauti

The best buy in my area was on backorder for bb10. That is good news

jwyoungy

Mr. Heins has to be diplomatic but I am pretty dispointed in AT&T. People who are fans of blackberry are reporting that the Z10 is either behind a counter or off to the side, that their sales staff know very little about the Z10 and that there is a lack of posters or other promotions for the new blackberrys anywhere in the store. In Canada, the carriers are promoting the heck out of the Z10.

wenuell

I'm still waiting for the white Z10 from Verizon on the 28th so I have not been to many stores. I'm also a shareholder so I read several message boards to gather opinions from others scouting the launch.

One thing that grabbed me as unacceptable is many retail outlets (BB, Att wireless) don't have any launch materials visible. The Z10 is often found toward the rear of the store. In some cases not even on display. The sales rep has to get the phone from behind the counter. Several times I've read the phone was not powered on. When asking sales reps about the phone they generally have a favorable opinion about the phone but can't give and specifics of what the phone can do so they revert to a let me show you something I know more about(droid and apple).

My question to those out there looking around for the Z10. Is this your take on the launch as well?

NaijaBerry

Is it me or is the site going all wonky?

drkpitt

I would be happy to help out the BlackBerry experts in the stores. @Kevin, if there is a way we can support BlackBerry in this effort please let us know. When I visited there were several people who came in to see the device (even though it was buried in the back of the store with no signage) but the salespeople weren't able to sell it or answer their questions. The main set of questions people had was how they could migrate their contacts and calendar over to the new device, and if the people in the store would help them do it as part of their upgrade. Some of the people also wanted to know about the Q10 availability since they want the keyboard. I explained how good the Z10 keyboard is, but again it's a tough call for die hard keyboard fans (including myself.)

labyrinth9

I think that would be a great campaign for every loyal Blackberry fan should spend time in the stores and telling people how it really is! Too bad most of us are too busy to spend that kind of time...

Carmels

Personally, from an outsider looking in. With as much time the US carriers had to prepare for this launch, Z10 phones should have been flying off the shelf. I still don't understand why a carrier like AT&T, would limit themselves to the sale of any one phone. You're a service provider, your number 1 objective should be to sell as many phones and services possible regardless of the manufacturer brand.

When I was a sales consultant for Bell Canada in my early years. I made sure I know everything about all products we sold because no two people walking though our store front was ever the same. I'd only be hurting my sales by pushing a single product because of preference. So either AT&T has done a horrible job at being prepared, or their hiring sales staff based on filling a schedule and not on a performance basis.

Posted via CB10 using a Z10

Nick Shadow

Carmels:

They have to carry the phone, they don't necessarily have to push it in the retailer stores and get Apple all weirded out (Apple is a VERY controlling company). But they have a ton of corporate customers that an outside sales team calls on. They are much more professional and highly trained. I am sure they know the phone because the customers are going to ask about it, want it demo-ed, and request seed and test units complete with ATT Corp support. If ATT failed to do any of that, the VZ boys would be lickin' their chops!

mkmilan

Sorry Thorsten, as a user I can say carrier and BB support at the ground level beyond disappointing. Philly here and tmobile, att stores clueless: no training, no ads , no displays. Also, played w my first Z10- one unit in one store- and I will wait for Q10 IF I decide to give up my 9900. So far not a compelling move for me- z10 not a comfortable experience, and, because of certain OS 7 apps I use and the dexterity of that trackpad I use constantly, I might buy a backup bold and wait several iterations to switch- if ever. AND, CB on my 9900 and PB still a checkerboard nightmare !

Ziro1

I went to AT&T store yesterday, and I had to look for Z10, it was all the way at the back shelf. Ok, now I started playing with it, but the brightness was so low, I tried to go to settings and it prompted for a password, so I asked the sales person if he could help.
He said he'll be right back, and after a few minutes he comes back and enters the password, ok now I'm in and I adjusted the brightness.
I loved the phone, I asked to see a white version and was told they don't have it, I mean really! how could this happen. All the other phones have all the colors displayed with posters and displays!!

I was very angry at them and some blame should be going to Blackberry also, come on, promote your stuff will ya...
About Z10, I did not like the screen size and the little lip type of a frame around it, why couldn't they do a flush screen...I want to see close to 5" screen from Blackberry and soon, or I am going to HTC One, sorry guys, I am really disappointed, have been a blackberry fan and user for a long time, I never changed to others, but now, I don't know if I will...

ezapper2

I must say, i got my z10 on feb 5 th with the Rogers launch and pple were talking loads of crap, especially iphoners.

Now we are coming to the 2 month mark and everyone who talked jibberish to me is now deeply mesmerized by the z10..

It is now looking like a competative phone and anyone who is on iphone and android is getting sucked into buying it seeing the power it has. Its truly a phone that can be used for the next decade.

Sadly lots of pple with old generation bb's are still switching to iphone, i think mostly because they want to try that experience, the good news is i see most of them coming back to blackberry when they realize the z10 offers more (not talking about the apps at least not yet)

Overall im seeing bb10 advertising everyone and i think its amazing. Its making everyone believe in blackberry again and i love it. And for the ones that keep stating i hate these bb commercials b/c they constantly rerun them...i say AMAZING. BlackBerry is doing the right thing here.

Posted Via CB10 Z10

ghostzapper

Frank Boulben talks of creating a world class marketing organization at BB. Judging from BB's debut in US markets, he's got his work cut out for him. Z10's debut in the US has been underwhelming.

cappo40

By reading these comments it seems some people at AT&T stores like their job, and others are there for a paycheck...No wonder the US is dying

cali122

Hi, I'm in Switzerland and it's not possible to download any music or movie in BlackBerry world... WHY?? BlackBerry travel is also not available in Switzerland... (only 3 countries...) help me please... why BlackBerry always forgot swiss people? Can someone help me and give me a response please? It's impossible to contact a support from BlackBerry...

Posted via CB10

mathking606

Music and movies are controlled by 7digital and rovi so they must not have rights to sell the movies and music in switzerland but it might be coming (try contacting them) and about BB Travel try contacting people at BB on twitter like Alex Kinsella and Michael Clewley who are usually very helpful.

JimCanuck

"and we have about 1,000 people from BlackBerry that we will send into all stores US-wide. They will counsel people, they will be known as BlackBerry 10 people, so we're supporting this from our side as well."

As one who has led the launch of new product nationwide (in Canada) in the past, it is important for these 1,000 people to get into the various local locations and speak one-on-one with the store sales reps. That is the key to changing perception and enthusiasm at the point of sale (of course having a reasonable compensation incentive helps, too). But first the in-store carrier sales personnel have to know more about what they are selling.

When I later had a U.S. responsibility we hired a firm whose representatives may cover three or four product producers/manufacturers but knew the local store scene quite well and visited each frequently (every week or two). Not only will they provide information but also gather inventory information and salesperson feedback.That may also be what Heins is referring to when he talks about "1,000 people from BlackBerry". Helps keep the head count down while getting product information out front. I have forgotten the term for this but it is a common practice for firms working with the retail market.

bbbutch

Thorsten Heins is unable to complain about carrier support because the US carriers have shafted Blackberry once again, and there is nothing he can do about it. US carriers delayed BB 7's and they did it again with the Z10. The Z10 is a great product with a terrific OS but it is without US carrier support. With friends like this, who needs enemies. Frank Boulben is a wireless marketing veteran who was hired as Chief Marketing Officer to use his special relationship with the carriers to market the Z10 successfully. To date we have seen little carrier advertising and obviously little in-house support from either AT&T or Verizon. Where is the media advertising in the US ?

walt63

Yeah, this was definitely a PC answer. I went to AT&T just to check out the phone and I was discovered a few things.

1.) The assisting rep didn't know if the device was on display or not.
2.) They just but the display up yesterday...the phone launched on Friday.
2.) It was tucked in the back of the store in the corner with iPhone 4 and older Samsung devices.
3.) The rep didn't even try to sell me on the features or elaborate on them. Even after I told him that I was looking to purchase, but wanted to mess around with it first.

These things indicates that AT&T nationally did not do a good job at training and not every store consider the Z10 as a new or up-to-date phone. I understand that the iPhone is AT&T's baby and Apple is paying a lot of money for them to advertise, but at least display the phone in the main area and not in the back.

I really hope VZW doesn't do BBRY like this.

katrigari

It could also be the fact that some ATT stores are only selling the blackberry Z10 to customers who had an upgrade in their account. I had to go to three stores before I found one that would sell it to me straight out.

Posted via CB10

allengeorge

I think he's being diplomatic. It's obvious AT&T doesn't care (and why should they?).

MathRulesTheWorld

I suspect it all comes down to what the sales agreements or contracts have been signed between the carriers and blackberry. Check out the nytimes article about Apple and possible antitrust abuse in Europe. www.cnbc.com/id/100580120. A Nokia spokesperson makes a very interesting comment in this article about market position and leverage.

jzacuto

I completely challenge Thorsten's comments.

"In terms of presentation in the shop, in the points of sales, absolutely supportive [No, they're simply not.], and they sometimes say, "We're rooting for you." What else do you want?"

How about a window cling announcing the new Z10? How about a banner when I walk in the door? How about a sales person greeting me with, "Welcome to our store! Would you like to see the all new, re-designed BlackBerry Z10 smartphone?"

Because when *I* went to my local AT&T store, I got NOTHIN'.

The lack of a significant presence in most if not all AT&T wireless stores at launch was a huge disappointment and tremendous misstep, in my opinion. My local AT&T store did have a display model, but there was little attention drawn to the single device. No window clings, no signage, no fanfare, nothing. Most of the stores attention was given to the plethora of Android devices and, of course, to the iPhone. And at my local Best Buy store, I was told that they did not have display models of the Z10 at ALL (not even retail dummy units), and that if I was interested in using a love demo model, I'd have to go to an AT&T store. (But they did have stock available for sale -- SIGHT UNSEEN.)

"They're helping. [They're not.] There is also investment on their side into marketing money [Where is it from AT&T, because I didn't see it on launch day.], into marketing and promoting their product [There is? Again, I don't see it.], and we have about 1,000 people from BlackBerry that we will send into all stores US-wide [1,000, really? 8-10% of your reduced global workforce?]. They will counsel people [Why was't this done in advance of launch?], they will be known as BlackBerry 10 people, so we're supporting this from our side as well."

ewalker3

the experiences posted above is pretty much my experience last week at a local ATT store. I walked in, the phone was way in the back next to a .99 iphone4. The phone was attached to some stupid lock so the upper left side of the screen was blocked.
At best buy they didnt even have a working unit to try

savingblackberry

Exactly, ATT has given a boot to Blackberry and Heins doesnt get it, Boulben is a completely incompetent man.

BBVegasGirl80

It is disappointing about AT&T. This can only be a boon to Verizon and T-Mobile to grab market share from them. Hopefully they will step it up with proper BB displays in their stores this week.

Kevin, I volunteer to help the BB expert in Vegas if they need someone! What we need are some hot bikini babes at stores like the one who won the Z10. That'll sell some phones for sure! ;-)

savingblackberry

No, what will see more phones is someone who knows how to run business in Waterloo, not just make great phones and software

BBVegasGirl80

Yes, I understand that, but here in Vegas promo models like girls in bikinis are used to sell all kinds of products. I do promotional modeling myself and we have many people who come here for business, people who are here to have a good time and see hot girls. Why not give these girls Z10s and have them demoing the phones at the different carrier stores near the Strip or at the Convention Center? The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) is coming up in a couple of weeks and it would be a great opportunity to get potential customers or current BB customers who want to upgrade to the new phone. A little sex appeal doesn't hurt. We built our town on it. ;-)

Anonymous1341001

Is anyone promoting BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry 10 via Facebook, Twitter and all the other social apps. I really want BlackBerry to gain momentum.

Posted via CB10

BBVegasGirl80

I am constantly doing that on my social media profiles.

savingblackberry

You guys should stop living in a bubble. BB10 is no doubt the best platform.. so what? Its a necessary condition, not sufficient. ATT has kicked BB in the most sensitive part. Doesn't Heins get it? Is he going down the road of Hubris that Mike and Jim did? Boulben has been a total failure, very bad marketing and PR. Alec Saunders has done a horrible job of getting the best apps.

Its such a pity that the greatest mobile computing platform getting kicked so hard. All trhis can be fixed but people in Waterloo are very insular, arrogant and live in a lalala land... Jobs could afford that because he could change reality.

So let Mike and Jim enjoy their ill-gotten $7 million severance pay while rest of them kill this company.

FoxieCleopatra

I spoke with a Tmobile rep today and was very disappointed they seem to have no idea when bb z10 is actually coming to the store. She said there was no launch information in the system. How is that possible when reports keep saying the 26th or 28th? They still have no pricing information. I also find it really rude when I'm in a store and ask about bb and an agent says something like "why do u steal want that thing? Blackberry is dead" and then tries to show me android devices. Obviously this is a henderence when the agents are calling the phone crap before it even comes to the store. I'm annoyed!!!

Pam Pam Naraidoo

Just walked in to att and asked about the z10 (I already have my z10) the sale rep said I don't know how to work the phone there's no button. Just wait for the S4. I was up set I played with the mock z10 and left.

But playing with my new z10 shows me how they improve the PlayBook

blanquillo

BBZ10 is very cool and fast with the 1000 people who will be in U.S. stores, so they give good information to the customer who will buy the BBZ10

wenuell

All of these comments should be sent to the VP in charge of US marketing. Thor, "Get it fixed yesterday or look for a new job."

allengeorge

'I cannot complain about carrier support' - Thorsten

I can.

I walked into my local AT&T store yesterday. There was no signage at all, no display model (working or dummy) and no BlackBerry branding to be seen; this, in the heart of Silicon Valley. The retail clerk was very nice and opened up a box for me to take a look at the device, but could not demo it. If this is the level of carrier support we're talking about then we have very different ideas of what constitutes acceptable.

o4liberty

I haven't seen any carrier support just the opposite ! This launch seems like the prior launch of the OS 7 devices where store sales reps keep telling perspective buyers that blackberry is going bankrupt and Android or Apple is a better device this is not carrier support! Lets see what sales of the Z10 look like this Thursday !

kill_9

Clearly Heins is thicker than Heinz Ketchup. ;)

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

Ronald Bak

I want to put this into a perspective from a consumer here in the USA who has been patiently awaiting the arrival of your new product I have been waiting 2 years to finally arrive, where are the signs or display to tell me it's finally here???????

As a former loyal Blackberry user who was will willing to dump my current device and platform that I have been very happy with for the last two years to get you another chance, where is it?????

Posted via CB10

jojo beaconsfield

they got it all down pat ,relax,

Dwight Rata

My AT&T store in Corpus Christi Texas didn't even have the Z10 on display the first day then when I asked for it they said yea we have it just not on display. Come on AT&T show a little love.

Posted via CB10

rishio

Having never used a blackberry device before, I was ready to pull the trigger and buy it on T-mobile on the 26th. The poor launch makes me hesitate as I don't want to make the mistake I did buying into WebOS. In hindsight, I kind of wished they launched with verizon first and started out with the Q line before the Z. I feel like that would have led to a stronger opening. Here's to hoping the t-mobile and verizon launch go better.

Nick Shadow

I have a suggestion. In addition to complaining about the crappy experiences had by many at the ATT stores, complain on the ATT website. I promise you (My wife worked for them in management for 18 years) that there is a Director or VP level person who has the store business. He/She will not like having all of this rubbed in his/her face, especially since it is going to show up in the grading and market evaluations. They will notice a lot of screaming, if for no other reason other than someone will get their ass chewed for poor customer experience.

Nick

mday924

I thnk the phone can be a bit frustrating for reps and potential customers to get used to. It's nt like going from iPhone to Android, or the other way around. This could be the biggest hurdle. I also heard this today from an AT&T rep and got the same impression on Friday when I visited Best Buy. Let's hope most of these trained reps end up getting used to the phone over the next week to two weeks and can't demo an android or iphone as a result. Maybe the z10 should come preinstalled with Crackberry for the phones that are going t these trained reps.

tprime

Just checked with a local Tmobile store. The report told me they only received 4 units but he couldn't sell until launch. He did let me play with their demo unit. He actually had 3 phones a BB Torch, Nexus 4 and SG3. But he was fair by saying the Nexus beats the SG3 to him but he hasn't had a real chance to test out the Z10 but he hoped it could beat his N4. He also said he prefers his PlayBook over IPad so at least that store will have a fair shot with a representative who seemed somewhat objective. He said he suspects the HTC one will beat all 3 but he's pulling for Z10.

AmakusaShiroTokisada

I have one simple solution to selling a ton of Blackberry Z10s. Get Justin Beiber to promote BlackBerry. I'd even let the Beiber fans in for free to all of his concerts for a month if they bring a Blackberry Z10 as their ticket.

potatoguy

have to agree, it certainly would get the younger crowd buying, never understood the Keys girl being brought in to sell BB.

dbmalloy

Seems to be two camps in all these comments and threads... the first.. the ATT horror show... no signage... no reps who know anything... phones buried at the back of the store.... the second being the enthusiastic sales rep with phones to show.... more rare ... at least compared to number one.... I live in rural Canada.... have a z10 on loan for work purposes... I have probably sold 35 people on the z10 in the last month.. that is the amount who bought one.... how ... not because of my local Rogers Store..( MTS still not in the game where I am) not the numerous commercials.... ( most people still thought "RIM" was out of business...) no showing them and letting them "play with the phone" sold them... the BB10 is a user experience... no amount of advertising or selling is going to change that..... What made Apple successful in the beginning was the user experience... If enough people get to see this phone it will sell... at least it did in my remote neck of the woods....

MrLynd54

When I went into my local ATT store the day before the launch of the Z10 there were no signs or posters up announcing a new product. Infact there were no BlackBerry phones anywhere. I did talk to a couple sales person who were carrying the Z10 in their pockets. They were happy to demo the phone they had. They asked me how did I know about the new and I proudly stuck out my chest and said "why I'm a proud user of CrackBerry.com, have been for about 3 years now. On of the sales persons remembered me from last year and say "hey, I remember you, telling me about a new BlackBerry phone a year ago". Nice to be remembered. Going back to the store yesterday, still no signs up but they sold 3 Z10's the first day. The store would love to have a poster or a kiosk in the corner.

llawrence1969

Mr Heinz should be worried! I can tell you that in smaller markets its business as usual. I've been in a few at&t locations in the Tampabay area and have been told by sales Reps to just wait for the samsung s4. In one particular store I was laugh at saying, "you must be the last person with a BlackBerry." They have no intention to push customers to the Z10. So I ended up purchasing on Amazon.

mr1030

I went into the local Verizon store back on the 15th. The rep there told me he and his co-workers had just received training on the Z10. He was pretty knowledgeable and seemed impressed and excited about the device. His personal device was a Motorola Razor Max. He told me they were expecting to have a demo model out on the floor within a week. This gives me hope that Verizon will be supportive of the Z10 on launch. I'll check in with them again tomorrow to see if a demo is on display.

In stark contrast, I went into the local BestBuy on the 22nd to see if they had an ATT model to demo. No phone on display, and not a single sign or banner up about the new Z10.

mr1030

Went to the Verizon store today. No Z10 on display. no signs. Sales rep told me they had not received a display unit yet. Pretty crappy marketing.

Decided to check out the local ATT store to play with a Z10. No display unit. No signs. Sales rep said she had a demo unit in back. She returned with a unit that she had obviously just removed from a box since the plastic protectors were still on it. The battery wasn't charged and she said they didnt have a charged unit, so I couldn't check it out. When I asked why they didn't have a unit on display when they had been selling it for the past 5 days, she told me that the store manager didn't want to put one on display. Disgraceful on the part of a carrier partner. On a positive note, while I was talking with the rep, the sole customer in the store at that time was at the cash register buying a Z10 :)

mediadavid

Remember this interview took place before the launch, so Thorsten didn't know how it was actually going to go down, and that AT&T staff were in general going to be ignorant, if not downright hostile.

I suspect in his meetings with carrier executives they'd been much more supportive - though of course likely only from politeness.

That's not to say the BlackBerry people in charge of the US launch shouldn't have been planning for this though.

Posted via CB10

David Farris

So we can blame everything on AT&T? So I have been waiting for z10 even after the snub the US received from BlackBerry. Went to a store and and was utterly disappointed . This was supposed to be a knock it out of the park home run. The future of bb and all that jazz. It was not any new or innovative, it was average. For the first time in 10+ years I do not use a BB. BB left me, I didn't leave them.

timmy t

There was no snub of the US by BlackBerry.

mikeycollins13

The carrier launch was very slow in the UK.
The phones flew off-the-shelf when they were selling off contract (not carriers, at retailers)
Carrier support came, but was slower

southlander

I can't complain. It says so in the contract. Believe me, I'd really like to tear AT&T and new one. But I can't. Lol.

ipaqman

Hi Kevin just a question for you. Are you long blackberry stock??

Yandar

Thor may not be able to complain about carrier support but we can. When an OS release is ready every Z10 should have it available within 48 hours of being released by BlackBerry. Any carrier specific tweaks should be pushed out by the carriers themselves after we have the main OS in those little 1-20 megabyte updates that the carriers push out.

pandapurple

Customers can barrage your carriers for the OS releases. Strength in numbers.

Jimcmf

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CNBC hires MARKET MANIPULATORS !!!! Please read this !!!!
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On March 22, Mike reports ( at 00:29 ) that he went into a VERIZON store, and he saw that NOBODY was buying the New Z10 phone.
Well guess what ? VERIZON hasn't even started to sell the Z10 in their stores as of yet.
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Mike is a JOKE of a reporter and is a manipulator of the worse kind.
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See for yourself
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http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?play=1&video=3000156315
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Don't believe CNBC staff. They don't verify reports.
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pandapurple

Shame on that guy who said nobody was buying a Z10 at Verizon when Verizon isn't even selling the Z10 yet. Talk about dishonest reporting. What did he care? The 1 min of fame on TV saying something sensational.

savingblackberry

Mr. Heins, wake up! ATT just F###D all of us really big. Boulben is a disaster. Accept it now. Dont waste another day.
Dont be like Mike and Jim and bury the truth. ATT wants BB dead.

Jimcmf

Word of mouth will sell these phones.

The Z10 is AWESOME. End of story.

icanican

in this day and age, word of mouth marketing can produce exponential growth in sales figures... perhaps worth considering

Posted via CB10

taylorblackberry

Thor is just being to modest and nice, covering up for the carriers. The carriers are not doing well enough. Just my thought.

world traveler and former ceo

He can't say in public what he can say privately ... anyway, once all major carriers launch the Z10 . things will get rolling .. and the reviews for those who have purchased the Blackberry Z10 have been fantastic!! .. that is most important!!!

alta.guy

Not just USA, I'm from Grande Prairie Alberta, talked to my neighbor Friday, the people at Expert Mobile told him they are having alot of trouble with the Z10, so he bought a iphone 4S. I hope there is some BB fans from GP that read this and spread the word not to buy from Expert Mobile.

donemt

After a disapointing AT&T venture looking for the Z10 I went to several Best Buy stores and they were even worse than AT&T! First, they only had non-working Z10's on display and the lack of sales knowledge about the 10 by their staff was appaling to say the least. It seems like cold water is being poured on the Z10's USA launch whether intentional or otherwise! Can't wait until Verizon's launch to get my hands on the 10!

donemt

PS. Can't wait until the Z10 takes off with its new OS system and becomes "the new kid on the block" just as the IPhone did after its launch! They (Apple) had their nay sayers on its launch that were proven wrong just as BlackBerry will prove to be better than the IPhone because of its superiority and true corporate nessesity.

rav813

Thor had to say that...he could not publicly bash carriers; then BBRY would definitely get no support.

Stephen C.

In Malaysia Maxis Mobile is the only one launching the BlackBerry Z10, and BlackBerry doing very well in Malaysia!

CertifiedNo.1

After reading this post yesterday, I decided to go to an AT&T store (Paramus NJ on Route 4) today to check their sinage and attitude towards the phone, also providing me an opportunity to play with the Z10 until my Verizon Z10 arrives.

When I enetered the store, no sinage anywhere, could not find the phone. The sales person asked if they could help and I just asked to see smart phones. Of course she tried to lead me to the Iphone 5 which was in front. I led her to the back of the store and there I found the Z10. She tried to tell me the phones in the back were the older phones. I said, "I think this is a new phone," pointing to the Z10. She said yes thats a Blackberry. So I asked her why isn't it up front, she said, "this is where they keep the Blackberrys and that the featured phones like the Iphone5 and S3 were up front." I told her I didn't get it and she said, "the phones they are pushing are up front." I said okay, thank you.

I picked up the Z10 and ofcourse it was in demo mode. I asked her how I could see the features on the phone and she said I couldn't. She walked back to the front. I attempted to see what if any experience i could get from the demo and it was pointless. It doesn't show you the keyboard, doesn't allow you to take a picture using the Time shift, BBM, or allow you to suref the Web.

I placed the demo unit down and left the store truly disappointed. If BB is relying on a carrier to help them reclaim market share, it better not be AT&T. I hope Big Red does better.

I think when Thor stated we had carrier support, I think he meant they are willing to put it in their stores. At no time did the woman even try to sell me the Z10 and the store was not promoting it.

SMH

mzblues

Blackberry should not only have the "Blackberry 10 People" go into stores to train, but also go in the back offices, pull out all the inventory and POP displays and set them up where they can actually be seen in mass, just like Coke or Kellogs does in the supermarkets seting up displays and filling the shelves!

I really can't imagine BB only sending one phone to each store with no ads or displays, (which is what you would think by looking at what AT&T is doing).

powellcrazy

Z10 will fail in the US IMHO, RIM has failed to get developers on board and get app world populated with apps that most of us want/need. I gave up the bold 9930 last year, I kept the Playbook hoping that apps would show up, but they have not! Rim is done!

They make awesome hardware, just too bad they couldn't get software/apps......

(Posted from my new heavily app populated tablet) PB collecting dust

James Artis

BlackBerry Z 10 is an awesome device. Any carrier who doesn't push it is stupid. It way surpasses Iphone.

Posted via CB10

James Artis

Anyone with BlackBerry 10. BBM video add me.

BlackBerry ID

Jdartis@gmail.com

Posted via CB10

Rootbrian

Carrier's need to show their support for blackberry 10 and not resort to backstabbing. If they do that, then something needs to be done to settle it once and for ALL.

sleepngbear

I cordially invite Thor to visit the at&t store I bought my phone in. Four days after launch and they still have no signage or even a Z10 out on display. That's considered carrier support?

Posted via CB10

stardotstar

and what would you expect him to say during the launch in the US that the carriers here stink! He is being politically correct with a line that is walking a tight rope!

timmy t

I think BBRY is waiting until all of the carriers are up and selling the BB10 phones before they start spending their advertising dollars. Why spend it when only a small percentage of customers will be able to go out and buy it immediately.
I think they got reamed for the Superbowl commercial because Americans couldn't go out an buy it yet so why not just wait a week before all of the US advertising?