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We're back with T-Mobile

Headline writers can have some fun with today's announcement that BlackBerry and T-Mobile have reinvigorated our long-standing partnership. It was almost 15 months ago that our two companies exchanged public words and agreed to go our separate ways.

While you won't see me wearing a magenta shirt or T-Mobile CEO John Legere wearing a black one anytime soon, today's agreement — expanding availability of BlackBerry's innovative products and services to T-Mobile's tens of millions of U.S. customers — is an important step that does the right thing for both of our customers and shareholders.


John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry
Justin Solomon | CNBC
John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry

Don't get me wrong, at the time, the decision we made a few months ago, to agree to disagree, was in the best interests of both of our companies too. So, a year ago, I couldn't have imagined this. But if being at the helm of BlackBerry has taught me anything, it's that a lot can change in a year. And that two strong-willed executives who say what we think, as we lead companies that are successfully doing things differently, can meet on common ground, especially when there is so much potential benefit for our shared customers.

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T-Mobile is one of many major partners around the world strengthening ties with BlackBerry again. In the U.S., this includes AT&T and Verizon; Bell, TELUS and Rogers in Canada; and Vodafone, Orange and O2 in Europe. We're doing all of this by developing highly differentiated products and – increasingly important – services that appeal to targeted users: the power professionals who depend on their smartphones to get things done and make things happen wherever they are.

Like us, power professionals refuse to compromise on second-rate solutions with iffy security. BlackBerry's solutions continue to stand out because we don't cut corners on the security and reliability that make BlackBerry devices and services indispensable to users around the world. And we never will.

Few milestones over the past year have been more gratifying for all of us at BlackBerry than reaffirming our relationships with carriers – and "un-carriers" – that are valued partners to us. We appreciate partners like T-Mobile that understand the value BlackBerry brings to their subscribers and their business, just as we appreciate the time and attention AT&T spent in working with our designers on an exclusive BlackBerry Passport for its retail stores.

Partners like T-Mobile and AT&T recognize that extreme productivity and world-class security are not easily-copied commodities and are essential features in heavy demand by specific users. BlackBerry Classic and BlackBerry Passport are unique products that stand out in an otherwise bland gruel of glass slabs. Similarly, not everyone who wanders into a T-Mobile store on a Saturday afternoon to browse is ready for the un-carrier experience.

Ultimately, BlackBerry and its partners strive toward the same goal: serving customers better with unique products and services. Stronger relationships make that possible by allowing us to be more creative in the programs we offer and the services we can bundle. For partners, BlackBerry's famous security and reliability helps them deepen valuable relationships with power professionals – a highly influential segment. Those customers know that when it comes to security and reliability, nobody does it better than BlackBerry.

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The future for BlackBerry and T-Mobile is an exciting one: two partners with strong and creative ideas on how to best serve customers, working together to do just that. Neither of us will ever compromise our values; they are what distinguish us in a crowded and noisy global market.

While we may not always see eye-to-eye, we share the unwavering agreement that customers need and deserve the best and most differentiated products and services we can offer. So, let's not forget what they say: the bigger the break-up, the better the make-up. And about that magenta shirt – who knows? I need John Legere to ship one to me first.

Commentary by John Chen, chief executive officer of BlackBerry and executive chair of the company's board of directors. Follow BlackBerry on Twitter at @BlackBerry4Biz.