Obama Panicking "I Forgot My BlackBerry!" Was The Publicity Boost BlackBerry Badly Needs
Free publicity is always treasured in a capitalist society, and on Friday, one Canadian company has the leader of the free world to thank for that. In a case of forgetfulness — proving that he is, in fact, human — President Obama went back to retrieve his BlackBerry after he hopped off the Marine One helicopter "almost immediately" after boarding, and headed to his official residence. When he returned to the chopper, he told White House reporters:
I forgot my BlackBerry.
While I am by no means ahead of the technology curve — What are Internet cookies? Why doesn't my Android SD card work? Is it OK that I'm still figuring out how to use my three-year-old MacBook? — I know, at the very least, that BlackBerries are pretty much an ancient relic in the dying weeks of 2014.
The beleaguered company lagged behind in the smartphone competition as the iPhone and Android phones basically conquered the market. It has largely abandoned the commercial market, and focused instead of selling itself to businesses and government agencies based on its strong mobile-security software, and according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, has built a reputation for security.
President Obama is one of BlackBerry's favorite, longtime customers. Friday morning's incident was tweeted by Doug Mills at the New York Times. After the president explained to reporters why he went back into the White House, he asked (with maybe a hint of annoyance):
Didn't you guys ever forget something?
Early this year, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in his over-convoluted way:
The Executive Office of the President was not participating in a pilot program with regards to our handheld electronic devices.
Which, really, just meant that they're sticking to BlackBerries and not testing out Android devices. Carney also noted in the same press briefing that the White House Communications Agency is part of the Department of Defense — which means that the kind of phone the president uses is a matter of national security.
It makes sense if you think about it, because Obama could be having all kinds of top security-level conversations with other world leaders on his BlackBerry. I mean, who knows? According to Bloomberg Businessweek, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have also been seen sporting BlackBerries — maybe they a lively a three-way BBM group chat going.
In December last year, the president also told a youth summit on the Affordable Care Act that he wasn't permitted to use an iPhone:
I am not allowed, for security reasons, to have an iPhone. I don’t know what your bills are. I have noticed that Sasha and Malia seem to spend a lot of time on it.
The gratis advertising for BlackBerry probably won't result in a boost in sales, but hey, at least it reminded people that the company still exists.
Images: Getty Images (2)