updated 11:40 pm EDT, Thu November 4, 2010
Dell drops 25,000 BlackBerries for Venue Pro
Dell dealt a blow to RIM tonight and said it would switch all of its BlackBerry-equipped staff to its own phones. The more than 25,000 workers currently assigned a BlackBerry will instead switch over to the Windows Phone 7-based Venue Pro. Company representative David Frink expected the switch to start in the near future but told Reuters the rollout would be gradual.
The transition was expected as Dell's entrance into smartphones gave it an incentive to back its own products. It nonetheless serves as a snub to Google as it skips entirely over Dell's current and future Android phones, such as the Aero and the upcoming Flash, Smoke and Thunder. Google has promoted newer versions of Android as work-friendly, but WP7's inherent link to Microsoft services like Exchange potentially gives it an edge.
For RIM, the move is a symbolic loss of an important corporate customer in the US and compounds its current problems in the market. It has already lost half its market share in the US over the past year, according to NPD data, and now can't count on Dell for return customers. BlackBerry share has historically depended on corporate customers but has been under pressure not just from the rise of non-work use but from companies allowing Android and iPhone adoption.