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BlackBerry plans to hit 100-million user base

Facing fierce competition from Apple's iPhone, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) Tuesday announced it would more than double its customer base.

business Updated: Apr 28, 2010 12:24 IST

Facing fierce competition from Apple's iPhone, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) Tuesday announced it would more than double its customer base.

Currently, BlackBerry has 41 million users globally - almost three percent of the world's mobile phone market.

Calling its base of 41 million customers "a good start," RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said Tuesday that 100 million users is the next target for his company.

Delivering a keynote address at the annual RIM-organized Wireless Enterprise Symposium in Orlando, Florida, he said the wireless giant plans to penetrate the mass market with new application-laced smart phones.

To target the mass market, RIM is soon coming out with BlackBerry 6, its new consumer-oriented mobile operating system software. In addition to a universal search bar, the new software will be richer in graphics and animation.

The unveiling of BlackBerry maker's plans to penetrate the mass consumer market comes a month after Forbes reported in March that Apple's iPhone is set to overtake BlackBerry in the global mobile market.

Currently, BlackBerry enjoys about three percent of the world's mobile phone market, while Apple's iPhone has about two percent share of the market.

"Apple's ecosystem of consumer products (Macs, iPad, Apple TV) and services (iTunes, iPhones apps) make the iPhone a more attractive phone for many consumers compared to the BlackBerry... iPhone is making inroads with business customers that have traditionally preferred the BlackBerry," Forbes had said last month.

But in its bid to lure the consumer market, BlackBerry faces prospects of becoming less popular with its core corporate clients who made it a global brand because of its secure messaging system, say analysts.

As BlackBerry tries to become a platform for all sorts of soft tools to appeal to the consumer market, its corporate clients may take a fresh look at device, according to analysts.