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Blackberry's future lies in partnerships
Research in Motion CFO says company has several deals to put Blackberry software on phones, PC's.
August 11, 2004: 4:31 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - No, it's not just for dating.

That's what Blackberry maker Research in Motion's Chief Financial Officer Dennis Kavelman told CNNfn Wednesday when grilled about the mobile e-mail device's growing popularity. It's so popular, in fact, that Blackberry shipments nearly tripled in the second quarter, jumping 289% to 510,000 units.

Speaking from the company's headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, Kavelman said Blackberry sales won't be undercut by competitors entering the market with other personal communication devices, such as handheld PCs and smart phones with e-mail technology.

That's because RIM has deals with several communication companies to license Blackberry software for use in mobile PCs and smart phones, he said.

"We still believe that it's the very early days in the market," said Kavelman, pointing to 1 million Blackberry customers versus about 1 billion mobile-phone subscribers. "All these folks we thought would be competitors are partnering very close to us. You're going to see Blackberry on all these handsets."

He said licensing the Blackberry software -- which allows for not only text messaging but also the secure transfer of data from a company's computers -- is possible because it is written in Java and easily transferred to other platforms.

Research in Motion was one of the darlings of the technology boom. When the company went public in March 1999, it was trading at around $8 a share. A year later, it was trading for more than $150.

Since then, it has been a roller coaster ride. Even so, the stock is still up 215 percent over the last five years, unadjusted for a 2-for-1 stock split.  Top of page

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