Dell 'kicks out' BlackBerry smartphones

RIM calls switch to own-brand WP7 handsets a 'publicity stunt'
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Dell announced plans to migrate 25,000 employees from RIM’s BlackBerry platform to the firm’s own Dell Venue Pro smartphone running Windows Mobile 7.

“Clearly in this decision we are competing with RIM, because we're kicking them out,” Dell CFO Brian Gladden told the Wall Street Journal. The company will reportedly use the migration as a case study to market a corporate service to assist businesses in similarly migrating Dell smartphones.

While the initial win is a boost to Microsoft’s fledgling mobile OS reboot, Dell reportedly plans to add devices based on Android to the firm’s line up of smartphones. Dell told the WSG that the move would save 25 per cent in mobile communication costs over the current service from RIM.

However RIM fired back at the news, describing the Dell plan as a publicity stunt designed to draw attention to the firm’s own smartphone business services. “We find it highly unlikely that they will actually save any money with this move and far more likely they were looking for a little free publicity," said RIM's corporate marketing veep Mark Guibert.

Gladden appeared to distance the company from affiliations with particular devices or operating system, saying instead that the company views smartphones as an opportunity to grow Dell’s corporate services offering.

The move highlights the additional competition RIM is set to face in the corporate communications market where the firm has traditionally been the market leader.

Dell’s business services showed strong performance in the firm’s last financial results and it seems the company is keen to develop an own-brand Dell offering for smartphone communications, turning the firm from RIM customer to competitor.

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