Carriers Get Excited About Everything

A new piece is quoting Thorsten Heins from RIM as saying that carriers are excited about Blackberry 10. Good grief! This is somehow reassuring? Oh boy, the carriers are excited about another device they can use to sell more minutes and get more long-term contracts! What a shock! This falls under the category of news that includes “water still wet”, “space still cold”, and “fire still burns stuff”. The carriers being “excited” means nothing in terms of the future prospects of Blackberry 10.

I cannot recall any new mobile product launch that carriers weren’t excited about. It’s like making a puppy happy: show them something new, and they get excited about it. It’s about as surprising as Best Buy getting excited about some new or updated home theatre product. Carriers love new product, even if it is marginal in terms of sales. Anything that can draw people into their stores and get them to sign up (or renew/extend what they have) works for them. Why would they not be excited?

Carriers weren’t just excited and chuffed about the iPhone and Android devices when they came out (which gave them hundreds of millions of valuable subscriber contracts). They also went gaga over the new Treos that featured WebOS, the various Nokia phones running Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry 6. Again, I don’t believe a carrier has ever said “hmm, we’re not too interested in that device, because it probably won’t sell very well”. Ever. And their excitement level had zero impact on the success of those products. WebOS is gone. Windows Phone 7 is mired at the bottom with tiny, single-digit marketshare, and the entire Blackberry line is in freefall.

When tens of millions (not millions) of real people get excited and actually buy the thing, and people continue to buy BB10 consistently over time, then I’ll believe it is a success. That would be newsworthy. But advanced endorsement by carriers (who would endorse pretty much anything that sells contracts) means absolutely nothing and is indicative of nothing.