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Originally published September 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM | Page modified September 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM

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BlackBerry CEO takes jab at Apple: Try bending our phone

BlackBerry, introducing its new Passport device for business customers Wednesday, saw an opening emerge from user complaints that the newest iPhones get bent and warped in people’s pockets. “I would challenge you guys to bend our Passport,” said BlackBerry CEO John Chen.


Bloomberg News

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BlackBerry couldn’t resist taking a jab at the world’s most popular phone.

Over the past seven years, Apple’s iPhone has wrested the smartphone market from BlackBerry, reducing the once-dominant device-maker to less than 1 percent of global shipments as of March.

Yet BlackBerry, introducing its new Passport device for business customers Wednesday, saw an opening emerge from user complaints that the newest iPhones get bent and warped in people’s pockets.

“I would challenge you guys to bend our Passport,” John Chen, BlackBerry’s chief executive officer, said at an event Wednesday in Toronto.

The reports of bending iPhones follow record demand for the devices, with more than 10 million sold in their debut last weekend. At the fan site MacRumors, a member named hanzoh wrote this week that the phone was “slightly bent after 2 days” in a front suit pocket. Numerous other iPhone owners reported similar concerns on the site.

Apple’s media office didn’t respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.

The bending complaints were the talk of the Internet Wednesday, inspiring a hashtag on Twitter: #bendgate. One user, Karsten Schmehl, posted a mock screen grab of Apple’s website with an “iPhone 6 Plus Repair Kit” — a rolling pin.

The Kit Kat candy-bar maker also got into the act, tweeting a picture of a chocolate bar snapped in two, with the one-liner, “We don’t bend, we break.”

BlackBerry unveiled the square-screened Passport phone — aimed more at business users than at the iPhone’s general consumer base — at events around the world Wednesday.

The Passport is BlackBerry’s first major new device scheduled for a global introduction since Chen was named CEO in November, the same day that a planned buyout of the company collapsed.

Gearing the Passport toward professionals is part of Chen’s plan to move away from the consumer market and concentrate on more profitable services for corporations.

The Passport’s innards include a complete steel frame, Chen said Wednesday.

“Bending that needs a little effort,” he said.



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