All along, Research In Motion has sneakily used concerns expressed by governments over their impenetrable servers as a way to position their device as an ultra-secure smartphone among their target audience. However, the past few weeks have taken all the fizz out as the company battles governments in Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia over opening up their network for government snooping.
Saudi Arabia became the first country to effect a ban on use of Blackberry services in the country. The ban got into effect today. Other countries that have been threatening a disruption of Blackberry services in their regions include UAE, India and Indonesia.
As Waterloo prepares itself for the government and market onslaught – RIM (TSE:RIM NASDAQ:RIMM) shares have lost over $2.7 billion in the markets due to apprehension among investors – the American and Canadian governments have stepped in and have offered to mediate with their counterparts in UAE, India, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia to try and avert restriction on BB services.
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has said,
“There is a legitimate security concern, but there’s also a legitimate right of free use and access.”
The next week will be critical for RIM and we will see how the plot unfolds. The governments are not likely to relent easily. But RIM too has refused to slacken their security. This is going to be interesting!