RIM offers biggest clients incentives to adopt BB10

Thu Dec 6, 2012 4:32pm EST
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (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 January 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.

"We will be aggressively reaching out to our customers to make sure they are aware of this program," said Bryan Lee, senior director of enterprise at RIM. "We see this as really the linchpin for helping our customers to transition to BB10."

Early adoption of BlackBerry 10 by government and corporate clients will go a long way in easing the concerns of both RIM's clients and investors. Many fear that a lackluster market reception to BB10 could seal RIM's fate.

RIM, which does not say what percentage of its business comes from the enterprise customers, said its online training and webcast series are already in place. Trade-ups, including free upgrades on the licenses for BB10 operating system, will be available ahead of the January 30 launch.   Continued...

A BlackBerry device is shown in front of products displayed in a glass cabinet at the Research in Motion offices in Waterloo November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Cassese