BlackBerry Ltd , is in the midst of a hard campaign. The firm is trying to save its hardware business by making a profit on an Android phone. That’s something very few have been able to do, and BlackBerry, which has its own quirks, seems like a less than strong candidate to complete the task. Now it seems the firm has made a faux pas that will make the effort even harder.
Some of the tech world has taken umbrage at BlackBerry CEO John Chen’s assertion that PRIV stands for both Privacy and Privileged. As we’ve seen from early reviews, the device isn’t able to deliver on the first promise. It’s the second that appears to be causing the most trouble for the firm right now, however.
BlackBerry PRIV Privilege Blowback
Privilege as a concept has taken on quite a few connotations in recent years. It’s become a byword for the social advantages that some people enjoy. Privilege in those terms comes in the form of economic, class, racial and gender inequalities, among others. It’s a concept that has been at the heart of a new political correctness movement.
Mr. Chen was, perhaps, not aware of that connotation when he said that the PRIV meant Privilege. The Verge, one of the most popular tech blogs, attacked BlackBerry for its privilege on Monday morning. The Waterloo, Ontario firm may be one of the least privileged in the phone market, given awful sales, but that hasn’t stopped its marketing campaign from being called out.
James Vincent, who authored the piece for the tech blog, says that, in the firm’s ad campaign, “the message from BlackBerry is that if you buy a Priv you’ll be transported into a black-and-white dream world where everyone is rich and hot and can only communicate using just two words: privacy and privilege.”
Making fun of BlackBerry
BlackBerry is a soft target, and that’s likely the reason that so much of the web finds it easier to go hard on the firm. In his review of the PRIV
BlackBerry is working from a very weak position in the phone market. The firm’s market share appears to be below a critical level where there’s a profit to be made at all, given the research costs, and its only bet is doing what everybody else has already done. BlackBerry released an Android phone, and few enough people are impressed.
It’s not true, however, that nobody likes the BlackBerry. Andrew Orlowski at The Register declared the phone was a “a contender for ‘Phone of the Year’.”
The big problem isn’t the phone itself. The PRIV is a solid Android phone with a super-premium price. It has features that a certain minority will pay for, but BlackBerry has failed very directly at spreading its message.