A Thought on the Economy and Artificial Scarcity

I am not an iPhone guy. In fact, I rarely listen to my iPod – as I ride a motorcycle everywhere and value my life over some good tunes while riding.

But that said, I am a technophile and just as there are Mac and PC heads – I am a Blackberry head. My friends and I are all way into the fact that Blackberry is more business-focused and not as, well, Mac-like as the iPhone. Call it preference. But at the same time, we are all agreed that the Bold and Storm are both way cool and can not wait to get our hands on them, even if they break some unwritten Blackberry rules – such as touch screen, etc.

But what we also always liked about the Blackberry was that it was, for the most part, not playing the carrier exclusivity game that Apple played with AT&T. My Blackberry on Verizon was the Same as my friend’s on AT&T and my other friend’s gadgets on T-Mobile, etc. And with Blackberry Messenger we can all talk without using any of our data plan minutes or texts. Great.

Now all that is changing. The new ads for the Blackberry Bold and Storm imply that either AT&T (Bold) or Verizon (Storm) will be the (for the time being) exclusive carriers for each device. Not cool. Especially in this economy, the concept of scarcity or exclusivity is not the best tact to take in my opinion. Retail sales are down for the first time in ages across the board, and if anything, the type of long term decision (contracts, etc.) that go with changing phones at the holiday season cannot be further hampered by not having what you want available from the provider you prefer.

I know that in exchange for exclusivity, the gadget provider tends to benefit. But in the long run, creating scarcity in this economy may prove not to be the smartest move if you ask me.

A Blackberry with a touch screen?  Coming soon to your favorite cellular provider, maybe…