Member of Apple's board of directors uses a BlackBerry -- so what?

Millard Drexler is the CEO of J.Crew and sits on Apple's Board of Directors and committees for compensation, nominating, and corporate governance. During a recent interview about his operations with the clothing retailer, some sharp-eyed smartphone ehtusiasts noticed that he was using a BlackBerry Bold 9900, not an iPhone, as one might expect from someone working with Apple at levels that high.

To be fair, Apple also had Eric Schmidt on their board of directors for a long time, and Schmidt was an Android BlackBerry user. Besides, the founder of mobile design company TAT, now RIM Sweden and one of the company's biggest assets, is still using an iPhone.  In any case, there are plenty of people on either board of directors from outside companies that are hardly beholden to remaining personally loyal to the brand.

Lately, RIM has been touting themselves as a phone for "doers" rather than iSheep, which is why Drexler is getting attention; any successful businessman toting a BlackBerry is a poster boy for the campaign, and the fact that this one just so happens to work with Apple is icing on the cake for CrackBerry fans. Really though, the "doer" campaign's snobbishness is just shooting RIM in the foot, as BlackBerry needs to be roping in any and every willing pair of thumbs whether or not they identify themselves as hyper-productive git-'er-done types. But hey, that's cool RIM, you can take that 1% of the market consisting of high-paid execs like Drexler that think it has to have a BlackBerry, while Android and iOS take up the rest.

What do you guys think - should Drexler be eating his own dogfood and use an iPhone, or does it not necessarily send a bad message that he's using a competing smartphone? He's not a hugely visible public figure at Apple, so it sure doesn't bother me much. Besides, who's to say he doesn't have an iPhone in his other pocket? A phone for play and a phone for work is a pretty common set-up these days.

Source: CrackBerry

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Member of Apple's board of directors uses a BlackBerry -- so what?

23 Comments

comparing rim to iphone to android is apples to oranges to grapes.
rim sells encrypted systems for professional security, apple sells general-purpose integrated products primarily geared for the creative industries of the world, and android is general-purpose for everyone.
whats the biggie?

He's basically just an investor. He doesn't take technical decisions and he's obviously more passionate about cloth then iPhones.
If Jony Ive or Tim Cook were to be caught using another brand of smartphone then yes, that would be a problem. If the people directly responsible with product design would not use the product (especially since they say they like to build products for themselves and their family) then that would certainly make me think a bit.
Drexler has probably been using a Bakberry since before iPhones existed. He probably doesn't want to switch it and he shouldn't receive any criticism for it. After all we did shun upon Steve Balmer when we heard his children aren't aloud to use Apple products. This is the exact opposite to that closed minded attitude.
Blackberry is the only surviving smartphone that existed before the iPhone, Palm OS is gone, Symbian is gone, Windows mobile is gone. I at least give them credit for that. And I don't mind if BB fans enjoy this little incident, I remember how passionate I used to be about Palms webOS. If I saw a Pre on a public figure today I'd probably cheer too :)

Not a big deal. When Steve Jobs first came back to Apple, he kept using an Intel laptop and not a Mac for a few years. Also, Drexler may be beholden to whatever the CIO approved in the past and perhaps they just haven't switched to a iPhone-friendly communication backend infrastructure yet.
Finally, individuals can sit on several company boards simultaneously. Do we expect them to refrain from ever using any competitor's products.
Ask yourself, do you really think Millard Drexler only wears J.Crew?

Considering that tipb for months ran features about which bubble-head celebrity used an iPhone, this is at least as newsworthy

Or experienced guy using tech that best suits his needs instead of worrying about what's popular or stylish.

It would be worse if the guy swore off phones all together... that would be like the Secretary of Energy not owning a car.

No big. All good points above. Company may not have approved, he probably used BB before the iPhone came out, he probably doesn't use only/all J. Crew products.

he probably deals with hundreds of emails a day. i love my iphone but its "push" email is a complete joke, (if i have "push" email, why am i required to open the mail app and wait for it to load before i can read them?)
i have a 9930, and even tho its software is painfully outdated, it still handles email much better than my iphone. the only thing the iphone does better is load html emails.
imessage is a nice BBM competitor, mostly because i can use it across my devices, but nothing beats a blackberry for communcations, which is why i assume this guy is using one.

I have Iphone 3GS and BB 9800, the two phones uses the same operator and the same WIFI and same email accounts (exchange, gmail, hotmail), guess what always rings first! Guess what always format the message in full screen(without gestures).

Or J Crew coporate policy requires anyone tying into a company server to use android. My company does the same thing, we have exchange activesync, iphones all over the building, but we can only tie in with blackberries because some exec along the way said so.

It's probaby not because "some exec along the way said so". It's far more likely that way because for years Blackberries were the only safe and secure way to provide access to the corporation. That argument can still be made to some extent. If you need secure and reliable communication, nothing touches Blackberry.
However I also believe that this strength has contributed Blackberry's downfall. Millions of people know Blackberries as corporate devices so locked down they barely qualify as smartphones. As more and more companies go to a BYOD policy, this negative experience drives most people away. Since my company went from corporate managed Blackberries to BYOD, nobody stuck with RIM. And I mean nobody.

Well, its nothing strange about it, applause to Apple, they are really openminded with everybody around, they really made everbody feel welcome either from RIM, Microsoft, Google n others. Apple has set a good example to others, well done!!

who cares? thought this was mobile nations? aren't we supposed to live as 1 rather than start flame wars?
just use what you like and get on with your lives, just causing un needed drama.

Maybe he just isn't ready for that change and can we really call Blackberry a competing platform at this point? Besides, Apple isn't the only company he's involved with. What technologies has J Crew come to rely on?