Bank drops BlackBerry

2010-05-17 13:21

Hong Kong - British bank Standard Chartered is replacing the BlackBerry, currently its standard corporate communication device, with the iPhone, a move that could eventually result in thousands of its bankers switching to the Apple device for business communication on the go.

Standard Chartered bankers in Asia said that the London-based lender was giving its corporate BlackBerry users the option of switching to the iPhone, with the company agreeing to continue to pay monthly billing for business-related telephone and data services.

"It's a group-wide initiative involving wholesale and consumer banks globally," said a Singapore-based spokesperson for Standard Chartered.

The process of migrating corporate e-mail services from the Blackberry to the iPhone started about a month ago, said the spokesperson, although she did not know how many of the Asia-focused bank's 75 000 employees used company-issued BlackBerrys or when the switchover could be completed.

Bankers at other financial institutions such as HSBC Holdings Plc and Morgan Stanley have so far been restricted to the BlackBerry as the standard device issued by their firms for business communications.

Security concerns

Despite some indications of change, it may take time for a broader switch to take place, mainly because of security concerns, according to financial professionals and information technology analysts.

"If more companies switch to the iPhone, this is of course bad news for RIM," said Lu Chialin, an IT industry analyst at Macquarie Securities in Taipei. "However, it will take a long time for companies to do their own internal testing before deciding to change, so it will be a while before it has any effect on RIM."

BlackBerrys, from Canada's Research in Motion, are the device of choice for bankers and executives who need regular access to e-mail and the internet when outside the office.

RIM had the biggest share of the US smart phone market at 36%, ahead of handsets running Google's Android operating system with 28% and Apple with 21%, according to a recent study by NPB Group.

Singapore-headquartered Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp began offering its staff the choice of Blackberry or iPhone about a year ago, although most of its bankers have so far stuck to their Blackberries.

Some small, privately-held financial companies in Asia have also started allowing employees to port corporate e-mails to their personal iPhones on request, bankers and asset managers told Trading China, a Thomson Reuters online community for financial professionals focusing on the Greater China market.

The biggest issue for most companies choosing telephone and e-mail hardware is data encryption, said Macquarie's Lin.

"RIM has a system that is more effective than most other handset makers, so if there is a shift toward the iPhone it's not going to happen overnight, but rather a slow and gradual change." he said.

  • Imraan - 2010-05-17 14:04

    emails and data on blackberry are dependent on the blackberry server, which has been slow to adopt to faster speed available on the phone networks. most of the corporates that are blackberry only are hampering their employees in doing their job according to best practice.

  • alfaspa - 2010-05-17 19:37


    i was a blackberry hater before but have noe joined the dark side; however! i can honestly tell you that a edge/gprs blackberry is faster and more desirable than a 3g smartphone running win(doh)s, as for the iPhone-a-wena.. when exactly did that become the fastest handheld again? and let me tell you after running a top end windows touch screen smartphone for 2 years, the blackberry and a qwerty keyboard are indispensable for work and business communication. i take it you are the type of *txter* who use 'U' instead of 'you', and 'da' as in, U da bom, instead of 'the' when you message someone. try that in a business email/text and see what your promotion prospects are mate...

  • em - 2010-05-18 07:31


    I hear you, but I have to say this for iphones predictive text feature, IT'S REALLY GOOD once you understand the logic behind it.

  • rasta dan - 2010-06-02 01:15

    My phone is smart too. It can make calls ...

  • alan berger - 2010-07-26 18:05

    I always used nokia Phones, but since getting the Blackberry Bold 9700 what an amazing phone never use another phone

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