This week, BlackBerry tried to assuage its dwindling customer base by publishing an open letter. Let’s read between the lines of the missive. Excerpts appear in bold:
To our valued customers, partners and fans . . .
That’s a curious word choice—“fans.” Are there really a lot of tweens out there with pics of CEO Thorsten Heins on their lunch boxes?
You’ve no doubt seen the headlines about BlackBerry.
You mean the ones that—if headlines had sound effects—would be accompanied by a deflating balloon?
You’re probably wondering what they mean for you . . .
Mostly that we should have sold our RIM shares three years earlier.
We have one important message for you: You can continue to count on BlackBerry.
With this sentence, BlackBerry has officially entered the “Not Dead Yet” phase of its existence.
MORTICIAN: Bring out your dead!
BLACKBERRY: I don’t want to go in the cart.
SOCIETY: Oh, don’t be such a baby.
BLACKBERRY: I feel relevant . . . I feel relevant!
We have substantial cash on hand and a balance sheet that is debt-free.
We literally could not be in a better position from which to continue hemorrhaging money.
We are making the difficult changes necessary to strengthen BlackBerry.
Wait, they’ve decided to make iPhones?
We are [launching BBM] for Android and iPhone. There are already around six million customers pre-registered to be notified of our rollout.
You read that right: Six million people are so committed to BBM that they typed their email addresses into a box. HOORAY, THE COMPANY IS SAVED! Apparently, BlackBerry is run by the same people who thought they were going steady with Marsha because she borrowed a pencil in homeroom.
Yes, there is a lot of competition out there and we know that BlackBerry is not for everyone.
Factoid: BlackBerry is particularly unpopular with the segment of the population that is aware it is no longer 2007.
Countless world-changing decisions have been finalized, deals closed and critical communications made via BlackBerry . . .
Please ignore the fact that the same was once true of the post office, the fax, the telex, the telegram, smoke signals, weird bird symbols carved into stones and rudimentary, pre-human grunts and hair-pulling. And for the record, have there really been “countless” WORLD-CHANGING decisions made on a BlackBerry? Keep in mind that, technically speaking, the world was not changed by your decision to play Brick Breaker on the toilet.
. . . and for many of you, that created a bond, a connection that goes back more than a decade.
Pretty sure they’re trying to make me feel guilty for switching to Apple. I didn’t cheat on you, BlackBerry—WE WERE ON A BREAK.
BlackBerry is different.
Some carriers didn’t even want to stock our latest device. That’s pretty different. Your move, Apple.
We believe in BlackBerry—our people, our technology and our ability to adapt. More important, we believe in you.
This sounds like a John Mayer lyric: We belieeeeeeve in yooooooooou! But what does it even mean? Let me take this opportunity to assure the people at BlackBerry—or at any company—that their belief in me is entirely misplaced. Each and every time, I will abandon you the moment one of your competitors produces a superior product. Just ask the nice folks who make Alphagetti. (You had a good run, guys, but a hippo? That trumps a capital M every day of the week. Zoodles FTW!)
You trust your BlackBerry to deliver your most important messages, so trust us when we deliver one of our own: You can continue to count on us.
And in return, here’s a message for BlackBerry: Allowing your company to grow complacent and expecting to thrive is like dating Taylor Swift and expecting not to be the focus of her next three albums.
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk