Lack of Beleibers at BlackBerry Cost Company Bargain Justin Bieber Deal

By Gerald Lynch on at

The rise and fall of the BlackBerry brand is examined in depth this week in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and offers plenty of insight into the see-sawing fortunes of the company. One surprising anecdote? The company once turned down a super-cheap offer to work with an up-and-coming teen star: one Justin Bieber.

At the time still best known for his YouTube stardom rather than visits to Brazilian prostitutes, the world-beating Canadian popstar remarkably approached BlackBerry (then RIM) in 2007 himself, putting himself forward as an ambassador for the brand in exchange for "$200,000 and 20 devices" -- the kind of money he probably poops down the toilet these days.

But the offer was laughed out of the BlackBerry boardroom. Despite Vincent Washington, RIM's senior business development manager between 2001 and 2011's protestations that Bieber "might outlive RIM" the powers that be called Bieber a "fad" and moved on.

With RIM changing its name to BlackBerry, Bieber did indeed outlive the company in a sense. With BlackBerry now looking to be defined by its BBM mad teen fanbase, it must rue the day that they turned the world's biggest pop star, a homegrown Canadian figurehead for the brand when he was willing to sell his soul for a handful of BlackBerry Bold's and a few grand. [BusinessWeek via Guardian]