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 (RIMM) (Stock Quote: RIMM) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) - Get Report (VOD) - Get Report have teamed up for a full-out attack on every other smartphone on the market.
RIM and Verizon Wireless (a joint venture of Verizon (Stock Quote: VZ) and Vodafone (Stock Quote: VOD)) 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.
(RIMM) (VZ) - Get Report (VOD) - Get Report All Verizon asks in return is that both of those newly purchased BlackBerrys are activated with separate, two-year service contracts. 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.
(RIMM) (VZ) - Get Report (VOD) - Get Report For instance, Apple (AAPL) - Get Report lowered the price of its iPhone (Stock Quote: AAPL) when the second version was released and they seem to be doing OK. AT&T (T) - Get Report (Stock Quote: T) 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.
(RIMM) (VZ) - Get Report (VOD) - Get Report (AAPL) - Get Report (T) - Get Report 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.
(RIMM) (VZ) - Get Report (VOD) - Get Report (AAPL) - Get Report (T) - Get Report What Verizon and RIM have done is sweeten the deal big time. I realize that, iPhones, T-Mobile (DT) - Get Report Google's (GOOG) - Get Report G-1 phones, Palms and others may have been selling well but this new two-for-one offer might just sway buyers 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.
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