BlackBerry Offers up to $550 to Switch from iPhone to Passport But Will It Work?

Desperate times call for desperate measures. This may have been the logic behind BlackBerry CEO John Chen's decision to give away up to $550 to anyone who defects from Apple to BlackBerry.

It's hard to imagine Apple's extremely loyal customer base jumping ship, but that is what BlackBerry hopes in its newest BlackBerry Passport promotion, which tries to entice new owners of Apple's iPhone to trade in their new smartphones in exchange for $550 and the bizarrely squarish Passport.

The trade-in value actually differs depending on the customer's iPhone model. BlackBerry offers as much as $400 for an iPhone 6 and an additional $150 top-up that comes included for all models. The iPhone 4s has the lowest value at $90, making the total offer $240. That means a customer will only have to pay $460 to get a Passport if he trades in his fully functional iPhone 4s. Other models eligible for trade-in include the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

The program is expected to run from Dec. 1 to Feb. 13, 2015 and will cover only customers in the United States and Canada who are buying through Amazon and the Shop BlackBerry websites. In Canada, the top-up is C$200.

Right now, BlackBerry is offering the Passport with $200 off through Black Friday. Jared Newman suggests anyone who wants to trade in the iPhone for a Passport can take advantage of this current promo by trading in the smartphone with a phone buyback service such as Gazelle, which is offering $430 for an iPhone 6.

Instead of waiting for the promo next month, customers can trade in their iPhones now and pay for the discounted Passport for only $70, which is almost half the $150 they would have to pay under BlackBerry's own trade-in program.

However, the issue isn't really on which Passport deal would be better. The question is more on whether Apple users will actually want to ditch Cupertino for the once prominent smartphone maker, unless those are users who are unhappy with their bent iPhones.

Figures released by Strategy Analytics show BlackBerry owns not even one percent of the global market share in smartphones, while Apple remains the most profitable smartphone maker in the world. It's not just market share BlackBerry has lost. The embattled Canadian company is struggling to regain the confidence of consumers.

Nonetheless, the Passport has proven to be a potentially bright spot for BlackBerry, which sold 200,000 of its new smartphone upon launch. The unlocked Passport is currently the best-selling smartphone on Amazon, where it has amassed five-star rave reviews.


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