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In an inauspicious start to the day for Research in Motion, three major BlackBerry clients have announced that they’re moving to new devices.
Dell is planning to move its 25,000 employees away from BlackBerry, and towards its own devices, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Dell employees will initially be moved to the company’s Venue Pro Windows Phone 7 smartphone and will eventually have the choice of moving to Dell’s high-end Thunder Android phone.
“Clearly in this decision we are competing with RIM, because we’re kicking them out,” Dell chief financial officer Brian Gladden told the WSJ. He goes on to say that the switch, which will begin next week, will save Dell 25 percent in mobile costs — mostly because it won’t need to pay for BlackBerry servers any longer. Dell is also in discussions with T-Mobile to buy bulk voice minutes and mobile data that can be carried over monthly.
Dell is also planning services — like network setups and asset management — that could lure other businesses to dump BlackBerrys en masse as well. Now that Dell is offering some very desirable smartphones of its own, the move is a way for the company to help promote its own devices. Dell also isn’t afraid of selling competing mobile devices, since it will see higher margins through its service offerings, according to Gladden.
In other news, two of the largest banks in the U.S., Bank of America and Citigroup, are looking to dump BlackBerrys in favor of iPhones, according to Bloomberg. Sources tell the paper that both banks are testing software that will make the iPhone secure for company messages.
The banks are also testing Android devices, but it sounds like iPhone testing is further along at this point. The sources say the banks are looking to expand the variety of device choices for employees, instead of just dropping BlackBerrys cold-turkey like Dell.
The news follows a report from last month that showed the iPhone outmatched its business competition in activations. Apple also revealed in its most recent earnings call that it was seeing widespread adoption for the iPad and iPhone among enterprise users. Apple recently announced that it will work with Unisys to expand its enterprise offerings.
The reports are a one-two punch for RIM, but they certainly didn’t come out of the blue. RIM’s most recent flagship device, the BlackBerry Torch, was a decent upgrade for BlackBerry users, but it still wasn’t compelling enough to compete with the iPhone 4 and new Android devices. And while RIM is stagnating, Google, Apple, and even Microsoft, are targeting the now vulnerable mobile enterprise space.
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