Meanwhile, RIM is scrambling to deal with suspicion from foreign governments threatened by the very thing that’s made the phones such a success in the corporate market — the assurance that a user’s e-mail is private.
The United Arab Emirates announced over the weekend that it would block BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and Web browsing services starting in October because authorities don’t have enough access to communications from the devices. India is also pressuring the company for more access, but isn’t explicitly threatening a shutdown.
The conflicts pit national security against corporate security, and BlackBerry is caught in the middle. The company is closemouthed about the issue, hoping that quiet negotiations will resolve it, as it has in the past. At the same time, it is reassuring corporate customers that their e-mails are safe from snooping foreign governments.
RIM, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, sold its 100 millionth BlackBerry this year. It’s still the most popular smart phone in the U.S., ahead of the iPhone. It’s been holding its own against Apple Inc.’s phone, but in the last year, a new challenger has zoomed out of nowhere to put a dent in its market share: Google Inc.’s Android software, used by several phone manufacturers, including HTC Corp. and Motorola Inc.