In a direct shot at BlackBerry maker RIM, Dell Inc. plans to move its 25,000 employees over to its own line of smartphones and then aggressively market a service to help other companies do the same. Dell Venue Pros running Windows Phone 7 in exchange for their BlackBerrys, but they’re also offering a new service to their clients for help switching from BlackBerry.
Eventually, the company also will offer phones powered by Google Inc.’s Android software.
Brian Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer, said in an interview “Clearly in this decision we are competing with RIM, because we’re kicking them out,”
Dell will begin marketing a service to its business clients within two weeks aimed at helping them make a similar switch.
The switch begins next week and will save the company about 25% in mobile communication costs, primarily by eliminating the need for BlackBerry servers
The company is also talking with T-Mobile USA about purchasing voice minutes and monthly data in bulk, rather than individual employee plans. Minutes and data that go unused by the company would carryover
“We actually had a conversation last night around creating a site on eBay where we can actually sell these BlackBerry devices” that employees return.
Mr. Gladden said he hasn’t told RIM of his plans, adding, “it’s not clear to them the scope of what we’re doing.”
Employees that currently carry company-issued BlackBerrys can choose to receive Venue Pros with voice and data plans. Other employees will get Dell phones, but only with voice plans. They’ll be able to check email via Wi-Fi. Mr. Gladden said his company is working closely with Microsoft and that both parties recognize the opportunity for the software in the business market.