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Consumer exit denied

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RIM has denied it is pulling away from the consumer market.

Despite comments made yesterday by the BlackBerry firm's new CEO, Thorsten Heins, that RIM will be tightening its focus on its core corporate offerings and customer base - widely seen as a plan to move away from the consumer sphere - the company told us it will pursue "targeted consumer segments" too.

As we noted earlier, getting out of the consumer space could harm RIM's recovery. Even big businesses are now allowing employees to make use of their own smartphones, which workers are keen to do because they not only want to be seen with the latest, snazziest tech but also don't want be forced to carry two phones around, one for business, one for personal.

RIM reckons that to succeed in this 'bring your own mobile' environment, it needs what a company spokeswoman called "a compelling consumer offering".

The snag: on the basis of what it has produced thus far, RIM doesn't have one. All those many punters moving away from BlackBerry to Android and the iPhone shows they don't think it has either.

Can RIM compete? It seems to think so, but on price more than anything. Comments from the company today strongly emphasise fighting on price - "we plan to aggressively incentivise sales", "reinvigorate our position in the key entry-level smartphone segment" and "attract feature phone customers" - to get users to first upgrade to BlackBerry 7 devices and then to BlackBerry 10, its next-gen OS, in due course. ®

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