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RIM takes active-user total to 2m

Doubles subscriber tally in nine months

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Research in Motion was in part mood yesterday after declaring it now has more than 2m subscribers making regular use of its Blackberry hardware and the push email service that drives it.

The figure represents a doubling of RIM's user-base since February this year when it passed the 1m mark. RIM launched Blackberry five years ago, in 1999, so you can see how steep its adoption curve has become.

To date, the vast majority of the company's sales have taken place in the US, but it has been building partnerships overseas. This week it signed UK telco BT as a provider. BT joins the likes of Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, O2, Telecom Italia Mobile, Swisscom, KPN and Telefonica Moviles selling Blackberries in Europe.

During Q3, RIM shipped almost 620,000 handhelds, up 351 per cent on the year-ago quarter, according to market watcher Canalys. That was enough to put in fourth place behind, in order, Nokia, PalmOne and HP. It's well within reach of beating HP's shipments if it maintains its current growth trend.

Still, it's a very long way from challenging PalmOne, on the basis of Q3's numbers, much less Nokia. The possible spanner-in-the-works is its outstanding legal battle with intellectual property owner NTP. That company claims RIM has violated a number of its patents and on that basis won an injunction against RIM in the US. A request to quash the injunction is currently being considered by the US Court of Appeals. With so many of its sales made in the US, if the appeal verdict goes against it, RIM's spectacular run rate is likely to fall. ®

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