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Dell dumps RIM, saves fortune

Staff clear pockets for porky Venue Pro sets

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Dell reckons it will cut costs by a quarter when staff dump 25,000 BlackBerrys for its own Windows Phone 7 handsets, and is encouraging others to do the same.

The plan starts next week, and will see 25,000 staff getting Dell handsets - initially the Venue Pro which is the largest of the Windows Phone 7 handsets, but the only one made by Dell.

Dell will also be offering to help other companies make the switch, though when it broke the details to the Wall Street Journal the company admitted others might not save as much.

The savings come through not running BlackBerry Enterprise Servers, and not needing data tariffs for every customer; interesting at a time when RIM is giving away basic version of the BES and data tariffs have come down so much in price. It also means that some Dell employees will need to find a Wi-Fi hotspot to check their mail.

They'll need big pockets too - the Venue Pro is a monster of a phone. It's well over 12cm tall, nearly 6.5cm wide and almost 1.5cm thick; but at least the staff will be able read their mail on that 4.1-inch screen.

Apparently Android handsets will also be an option.

Getting rid of BES servers seems like an obvious way to save money, and when they're just being used to push out email then it probably is - which is why RIM has made BES Express free. If one is using the servers to host more complicated RIM applications, then the alternative might not be so cheap after all.

But it's important to eat one's one dog food in the mobile business - Dell is the only manufacturer which sees Windows Phone 7 fitting into the corporate environment, and if its own staff weren't using them then it would be hard to argue that case. ®

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