UPDATE 1-RIM offers biggest clients incentives to adopt BB10

Thu Dec 6, 2012 4:28pm EST
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* RIM sees program as linchpin for transition to BB10

* Program to be introduced in a phased manner

* Short positions in RIM shares on TSX fall sharply

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd on Thursday outlined a program of incentives to encourage its biggest customers to run its soon-to-launch line of BlackBerry 10 devices, seeking to persuade corporations and government users to stick with its secure smartphones.

RIM is betting that the devices, to be launched on Jan. 30, will revive its fortunes. That will depend to a large extent on the response from RIM's enterprise customers -- the business users who value BlackBerry's strong security features.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, once a smartphone pioneer, has bled market share to Apple Inc's iPhone and devices powered by Google's market-leading Android operating system, even among the business customers who once used BlackBerry exclusively.

RIM says its new devices will be faster and smoother than previous BlackBerry phones and will have a large catalog of apps, which are crucial to the success of any new line of smartphones.

It now plans to phase in a BlackBerry 10 Ready Program for enterprise customers, initially offering online training and webcasts, and then providing free trade-ups of licenses and services.   Continued...