Can Selling Directly to Consumers Save BlackBerry?
On Thursday, Reuters reported that T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE:TMUS) would stop carrying mobile devices made by embattled smartphone marker BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) in-store, in a move that is likely to see rival carriers like AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) follow suit. Now, BlackBerry has countered the news from T-Mobile by announcing that it will sell its smartphones directly to consumers, in an unlocked form, on its website.
BlackBerry has begun selling unlocked Q10 and Z10 smartphones on its website at the price of $549.00 and $449.00 respectively. While those prices aren’t exceptionally cheap, it does represent a cheaper contract-less entry point than comparative flagship smartphones from rivals like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung. TechCrunch theorizes that the Q10′s higher price is the result of the phone’s classic keyboard design and better reception overall than the Z10.
The move is surely in response to BlackBerry’s $965 million loss last quarter, when the Canadian-based company had to write off nearly $1 billion on hardware inventory. The write-down has been blamed on the poor performance of BlackBerry’s flagship Z10, which was launched in January and backed by the company’s new operating system.