It’s no secret that mobile tech coverage is fuelled largely by leaks. Readers love getting any information on the next big thing as soon as its available, and publications enjoy the increase in traffic and revenue it brings. While the size of leaks has diminished in the past few years, the frequency hasn’t, and blogs without the ability to craft original, compelling content can survive on the steady stream of blurred screenshots that often leave device announcements a mere confirmation of what is already known.
BlackBerry has published a post on its corporate blog written by nascent CEO John Chen on the subject of leaks. Here’s part of what he had to say.
“One of the most frustrating things for all of us at BlackBerry is when a critical and confidential project is reported in the media before we are ready to discuss it. Leaks are, at their best, distracting, and at their worst downright misleading to our stakeholders. The business implications of a leak are seldom advantageous.
This is why I want to make you aware that, right now, we are pursuing legal action against a party who stole confidential information about a future BlackBerry product and made that information public. This person falsely posed as an employee of one of our carrier partners to obtain access to secured networks.”
Chen doesn’t identify the BlackBerry leak in question, but its likely related to the recent BB 10.3 information if it came from a carrier. Regardless, Chen’s approach to the matter is… unconventional. For years, and like most technology companies out there, BlackBerry has taken legal action against egregious leaks, it has just never talked about it before. And while claims to crack down on leaks are commendable, they’re also unlikely, as relationships with carrier partners necessitate the type of information sharing that leads to leaks (pro tip: leaks of this nature rarely come from within a company. They often come from someone that company is partnered with).
But as Chen states at the top of his post, BlackBerry is in the fight of its life, and he is obviously willing to do whatever it takes to improve the company’s odds by even a fraction of a percent. He knows he can’t stop the information leaks, so he sends a message to potential leakers that might make them reconsider sharing: leak our products and we’ll ruin your life. Not all will heed Chen’s warning, but a few might. It might be enough to make a difference.
Disclosure: from 2009-2011 I worked at BlackBerry. Prior to that, I published as many leaks as I could on my BlackBerry blog.