Companies that issue BlackBerry smartphones to its employees are required to run BlackBerry servers, typically on-location. This can be an expensive proposition because setting up and maintaining the servers and all of the phones connected can require a full time force of tech-savvy employees. Dell, which employs almost 100,000 people, spends a lot of money on its BlackBerry infrastructure, but soon that will be no more. In an effort to cut mobile communication costs by 25%, Dell will be replacing 25,000 BlackBerry devices with the Dell Venue Pro Windows Phone 7 device. They’ll be replacing the BlackBerry servers with competing products like Microsoft Exchange servers, which are less costly to operate. This will be a big blow to RIM, which relies on big companies like Dell to be a regular customer. Other companies may follow by offering to replace employees BlackBerrys with a Windows Phone 7 alternative, or perhaps Android.
Update: It looks like RIM’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing has a response to this move: “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.” Is he right? It’s tough to say. Dell isn’t the first company to complain about the high cost of running a BlackBerry infrastructure. But then again, Dell does have a new Windows Phone 7 device coming out that competes with the BlackBerry. (via: WSJ)