If anyone’s keeping score, that’s about the size of it. First, they hired Alicia Keys to be their Creative Director. I’ve got nothing against the woman, and may or may not have belted out a tune or two of hers in the shower which is too much information for a Tuesday morning. Sorry. But really? Creative Director of a cell phone company?
Blackberry, you slay me.
It comes as little surprise then that the relationship, and whatever media cache’ they were going for with it, is over. But after righting that wrong, they’ve gone off the deep end and are now suing the Ryan Seacrest-backed Typo for patent infringement. I’m going to type that again because how often do you get to write about Ryan Seacrest on a patent troll blog? That’s right, never. Once more for good measure:
This does not make Blackberry a troll. And this one instance does not even put them on par with the likes of Ericsson and Panasonic, who are starting to use patents instead of products for profit by privateering. But you do have to wonder if they would be going this route if things were better for them financially.
If they were still at the top of their game, and actually they could do this now, they’d approach Typo Keyboards and Ryan not with a lawsuit, but a business proposition. This product (and others) could be a whole new business sector for Blackberry that, while at $99 it is not a product line that is going to save a sinking ship, it could at least keep them afloat for a little longer, or allow them to branch out into something a little smaller for a bit. Keep a few employees on the payroll while they reinvent themselves.
Their mobile devices lost out to the likes of the iPhone and Droid and Galaxy. Big whoop. That happens to a lot of products over time. But don’t make it worse by being a sore loser and going after a company that came up with a very cool idea! You don’t own QWERTY and you don’t own tactile keyboards. If you did, this very laptop I’m typing on would be in violation of your patent. (If Blackberry now decides to sue you, I’m sorry Dell!)
“We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations,” [Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s general counsel] added.
Why you gotta be that way, Steve? I don’t know Blackberry very well because they’re not a patent troll so maybe y’all did approach the Typo Keyboards folks and talk deal-making. Who knows. But it sure looks like you started negotiations with the daisy cutter bomb approach. I’m all for shock and awe, just ask my kids, but is that really the preferred method?
I don’t know, I think the kinder, gentler approach may have been better here and it could also have opened you guys up to the peripheral market. If mobile devices aren’t bringing home the bacon anymore, go find another pig. This could have been your oinker, is what I’m saying.
Here’s the deal though…He may be no Ashton Kutcher when it comes to tech-savvy investments, but I’m betting Mr. Seacrest is willing to bankroll a pretty stiff defense to a move that smacks of desperation.