UAE ban

Why the UAE ban is a golden opportunity for BlackBerry

August 6, 2010: 12:11 PM ET

More than one million users could find their cell services halted, but the ban could be just the PR boost RIM needs for its suffering reputation.

It's been a rough month for Research in Motion: its shares have tumbled, a study concluded that half of BlackBerry users plan to switch over to an iPhone or Android headset, and the BlackBerry 6 and BlackBerry Torch 9800 launch did little to sway critics who feel that RIM, which once defined the smart phone, is lagging behind competing devices in terms of hardware and software innovation.

Earlier this week, the UAE attempted to inflict another blow to RIM  (RIMM) with the announcement that it is planning to halt BlackBerry service to all users unless the company allowed access to encrypted user data. China, which just recently lifted restrictions on the sale of Wi-Fi-enabled iPhones, as well as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, India and Algeria also stated they were discussing bans as well. The reason? Concern over illegal activity being conducted via BlackBerry communications.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated the obvious, that authorities must balance "legitimate security concerns" with the "right of free use and access." But also on the line is the company's reputation. While some might argue this is another nail in RIM's coffin, the company could seize this as an opportunity to revitalize the brand if it plays its cards right. More

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