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    Rogers: It's not just for Blackberrys anymore  
    Financial Post  

Barbara Shecter

    October 03, 2007  

Rogers Wireless, the biggest seller of RIM Blackberrys in Canada, is tapping into a second stream of wireless email devices and technology through an agreement with Microsoft.

Rogers says it plans to back up the push of the Windows-powered Palm Treo 750 smartphone and the MOTO Q 9h with a "multi-million dollar advertising campaign."

"With Windows Mobile powered devices continuing to gain momentum in Canada, it makes sense to expand the portfolio of handsets offered to ensure the growing data needs of Rogers' customers are met," says John Boynton, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer at Rogers Wireless.

But industry analysts and consultants tended to brush off the significance. "A big deal? Not so much," says Iain Grant of the SeaBoard Group. "There are a number of Windows-based devices (from Nokia, from Ericsson, etc.) that offer the universe of business services users need."

As for the possible impact on Blackberry-maker RIM? Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, says there are opportunities for other players to make inroads in segments of the business market, but the Blackberry continues to have competitive advantages, including price, efficiency and reliability.

Mr. Grant says one welcome event in Rogers' new initiative is the apparent focus on small business users. "Smaller businesses need more services and support from their carrier then do larger businesses given that larger businesses have their own servers and IP support folks," he says. "Small business needs the help and support that Rogers (and Bell and Telus) can give."


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