RIM and UAE announce partnership; BlackBerry ban consigned to history

 In a move seemingly aimed at clearing its name in the Middle East with regard to security concerns, BlackBerry manufacturer RIM has announced a strategic alliance with mobile operators and regulators in the UAE.

The aim of the alliance is to make governments, enterprises and academic institutions in the region aware of what RIM’s services can offer them. RIM’s official statement, issued jointly with the operators du and Etisalat as well as the UAE regulator, described the firm’s “long-term commitment to address the growing market opportunities for smartphones, tablets and services that serve the needs of businesses and citizens in the Middle East.”

The statement somewhat glosses over the UAE’s recent threat to ban BlackBerry services on security grounds, and indeed makes no mention of the agreement reached between RIM and the UAE’s regulator that resulted in the ban being averted.

BlackBerry App World – the official app store for the device – is launching in the UAE, with RIM confirming that it will supply more localised content to the region, as well as encouraging local developers to create new applications with the BlackBerry WebWorks platform.

"The enormous popularity of BlackBerry Messenger in the Middle East demonstrates the potential for new apps and services in the region and this collaboration will support the local developer community to create additional rich and locally relevant apps for both BlackBerry smartphones and the new BlackBerry PlayBook," said Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM.

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