Home Economy BlackBerry stock bounces as Germany mulls ban

BlackBerry stock bounces as Germany mulls ban

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : Shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) rebounded heavily Monday, after sinking by more than eight percent last week, amid news of a reported deal between the company and Saudi Arabia on security issues related to the smart phone’s messenger service. However, new security issues came up with Germany that reportedly has told sensitive government departments to avoid using BlackBerry.

RIM stock rose 3.4 percent to close at $56.80.

Though RIM, which is headquartered at Waterloo near here, has not said anything on the Saudi deal, it has been reported that the Canadian company will now allow the Saudi regulatory authorities access to BlackBerry users’ encrypted data.

The US State Department, which promised last week to take up the ban issue with Saudi and UAE governments, said Monday: “There are reports of an agreement between RIM and Saudi Arabia.”

US State Department officials reportedly met with RIM officials Monday to discuss the deal with the Saudi authorities.

Even as RIM officials heaved a sigh of relief after the Saudi deal, Germany also raised concerns over the smart phone.

According to reports, the German interior ministry has asked government departments dealing with sensitive issues to avoid using BlackBerry because of a “dramatic increase in cyber attacks”, and instead opt for Simko devices offered by Deutsche Telekom.

Reports have quoted German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere as saying that “a rise in attacks against our networks and in particular against government networks” has led officials to reconsider whether the smart phones’ security was aligned with Germany’s own cyber security.

“BlackBerry’s infrastructure is a company-owned closed system. But the access standard must be capable of being set by the government and not by a private company,” the minister has been quoted as saying.

Amid this turmoil, RIM managed to unveil Monday its new BlackBerry Curve 3G to expand its globally popular Curve series of smart phones.

“The majority of people in the worldwide mobile phone market have yet to buy their first smartphone and the BlackBerry Curve 3G is designed to provide an extremely attractive and accessible choice that will help convince many of them to make the leap,” said RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis at the launch.

“The new BlackBerry Curve 3G is a perfect choice for happily busy people who are looking for a user-friendly 3G smartphone to help them make the most of their day and to stay connected with their friends, family and co-workers,” he said.

“The BlackBerry Curve 3G comes with BlackBerry 5 and is BlackBerry 6 ready,” RIM said in a statement. BlackBerry 6 is the new operating system unveiled by the company last week.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at [email protected])