Last week Dell dropped on bomb on RIM by switching 25 000 enterprise customers from their BlackBerry device to a Windows Phone 7 powered device (the Dell Venture Pro). This should save Dell about 25% in mobile costs by not paying for BlackBerry’s Enterprise servers and handset costs. Brian Gladden, Dell’s CEO stated that “Clearly in this decision we are competing with RIM, because we’re kicking them out… We actually had a conversation last night around creating a site on eBay where we can actually sell these BlackBerry devices”.
Apparently Dell did this without giving any notice to RIM. In response RIM’s SVP of Corporate Marketing Mark Guibert said “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”. In addition, Guilbert said Dell would also incur additional hard and soft costs of purchasing, deploying and supporting new devices and software, plus the monthly service charges for smartphone usage.
Regardless, not good news for Waterloo-based RIM. A couple weeks ago they got heat from Apple’s CEO saying their Q3 handset sales have “now passed RIM. And I don’t see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future”. And it’s true. Apple did pass RIM to become the 4th largest mobile manufacturer. RIM is 5th and every customer counts these days.