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IBM punts fixed-cost BlackBerry support plan

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IBM is snuggling tight with Research in Motion (RIM) to simplify how it sells management and support plans for BlackBerry phones in enterprises.

Big Blue has punted BlackBerry business support services for years, but in the past, customers had to navigate a bit of a contractual labyrinth to get things up and running. Under the old program, a firm was required to license BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Exchange directly from RIM or a RIM distributor, individual client access licensees had to be struck each time a new user was added, and there was a separate technical support contract for software maintenance and fixes.

The new deal sufficiently covers all the required elements to use a BlackBerry in an enterprise environment into a fixed monthly price tag, minus the data plan and BlackBerry phones themselves (which the customer will still have to work out with their preferred wireless carrier).

IBM reckons the contract simplification results up to a more preferable and predictable cost structure for enterprises. An IBM spokeswoman told us the price depends on the total services capabilities selected by the customers, but on average, it will range between $15 and $18 per user per month. The company claims the new fixed-cost plan will typically reduce costs from the old model by 15 and 30 per cent by minimizing upfront investments and streamlining operations.

The revised BlackBerry enterprise service plan is currently available in North America, and select countries in the EMEA and AP regions. ®

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