Is it a sign of our current economic times or are our friends north of the border beginning to smell blood in the water?
Very quietly and without much fanfare,
Research In Motion
(a joint venture of
) have teamed up for a full-out attack on every other smartphone on the market.
Verizon and RIM are running a BOGO sale: BOGO stands for "Buy One Get One" free. I'm not kidding! Verizon is offering all current BlackBerrys in a two-for-one sale. "All" means just that. Verizon currently offers eight BlackBerrys for sale on its Web site and all eight are eligible for the BOGO deal -- including the brand new, super-hot BlackBerry Storm 9530 touch-screen handset.
All Verizon asks in return is that both of those newly purchased BlackBerrys are activated with separate, two-year service contract. That's it! That's all you have to do to participate in this super offer.
This would appear to be a win-win deal for nearly everyone involved. RIM gets to move more phones -- Verizon gets two contracts signed -- and consumers get a great deal. Actually, RIM might even be losing a little on the deal (although I don't know if they get a piece of Verizon's monthly action) . This would not be a first in the cell-phone industry.
lowered the price of itsiPhone when the second version was released and they seem to be doing OK.
hedged its bets by raising the monthly service charges for the iPhone 2 to make up for the loss of its piece of the phone's selling price.
In the case of BlackBerry sales, this BOGO sale could just be the impetus to prompt purchase-shy CFOs to jump. Think of dwindling resources balanced against the chance of replacing older, worn-out BlackBerrys with newer models -- including the one CrackBerry on everyone's post-Christmas most-wanted list.
While an iPhone seemingly appeals to nearly everyone on the planet, its corporate e-mail agility is not in the same league as BlackBerry's email solution. Despite a constantly growing user base, iPhones still aren't BlackBerrys when it comes to dealing with super-secure corporate mail systems. That's the single most important feature that made the BlackBerry special. It's also why it's still the de facto standard everywhere from Wall Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.
What Verizon and RIM have done is sweeten the deal big time. I realize that, iPhones,
G-1 phones, Palms and others may have been selling well but this new two-for-one offer might just sway buyers in a different direction -- toward BlackBerrys.
One item to note: With the cellular handset industry's sales sweet spot firmly rooted at "$99 or less," nearly all of the Verizon BlackBerry now easily make that grade. Best of all, the Storm now sells for just $125. This makes the Storm a huge bargain compared to the other top-of-the-line, touch-screen smartphones on the market.
Verizon's offer is expected to end by March 31.
Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.