John Chen is not messing around when it comes to BlackBerry leaks

Douglas Soltys

March 26, 2014 1:59pm

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.

  • Lamar

    If I could leak.. I would. Life is too short to follow rules.

    • John

      You should put that on your resume.

  • goolger

    good job BB marketing team – let’s avoid publicity of our products so we become more irrelevant.

    • Ulysses Grant

      Product leaking makes your product interesting and people curious.

    • Josh Brown

      Also makes people wait for a device instead of just breaking down and getting a android or iOS. Seems like stupidity to me.

    • Striker67

      However, if it is about something that went wrong then it could have a negative effect.

  • KrispyInTO

    When your pipes have no water running through them of course you won’t have leaks.

    • Josh Brown

      I wm a Plumber. Confirmed.

  • OgtheDim

    Meh…..memos like this happen all the time.

    Methinks you created this article just so you can point out you do “original” content.

    • Jean B.

      Me think you make a lot of sense

  • downhilldude

    No doubt, Chen is doing what he has to do, but I am still not sure it’s going to save BB.

  • Guest

    Oh, the irony.

  • mggOptimusG

    Leaks are the reason why I am still with LG OptimusG.
    No leaks and I would have jumped to a Z30 based on my friends evaluations and my actual use of the phone. But there are leaks and I “see” the future … or some weird twisted and embellished version of it … Leaks are not always about selling more it is in some cases about inciting not to buy other products. BB leaks have been disappointing to say the least … I can understand them wanting to limit them.

  • sicsicpuppy

    BB Leak …catchy new phone name no ?