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Research in Motion avoided a ban today on its BlackBerry services in India by beginning a 60-day security test to see whether Indian officials can tap its BlackBerry Messenger and enterprise email services.
Indian BlackBerry users make up about 2 percent of the company’s 46 million users, according to the Bloomberg report, so a ban in India might not place that large of a monetary dent in the company that raked in $768 million in its last quarter, according to its most recent quarterly statement.
But it might set a precedent if India is the first to pull the trigger. India, as well as a handful of others, threatened to ban the BlackBerry services if RIM did not comply with demands to make enterprise email and messages available for government viewing earlier this month. The United Arab Emirates said it would ban the service beginning October 11 if RIM did not comply with its security demands, while Saudi Arabia let its proposed August 6 ban slide by without incident as negotiations continue.
RIM has said that it can’t access data on BlackBerry devices without a decryption key — even though the U.S. government has stated it can crack the service with proper court orders.
The announcements came on the heels of a shaky launch of its BlackBerry Torch device, pegged as an iPhone competitor. RIM cut the Torch’s price in half after Goldman Sachs said the launch was underwhelming.
Research in Motion’s U.S.-traded shares were up about 1.1 percent to $46.50 after the announcement.