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Dell takes CrackBerries off workers

Dell is desperately hoping that its latest Windows Phone 7 handset, the Dell Venue Pro, will appeal to business types - so much so, in fact, it's foisting it upon its own staff in a 'dogfooding' exercise.

According to details obtained by The Wall Street Journal during an interview with Dell's chief financial officer Brian Gladden, the company is to take around 25,000 BlackBerry handsets - in some cases, forcibly - from its staff, who will then be made to use Dell's own Venue Pro smartphones instead.

Gladden claimed that the move shows a willingness to take the fight to business smartphone giant Research in Motion, creator of the addictive push e-mail devices, stating: "Clearly in this decision we are competing with RIM, because we're kicking them out."

While the project may seem at first glance to be a cynical exercise in 'dogfooding' - where a company forces its employees to use its own devices, to be seen to be 'eating our own dogfood' and proving that the gadgets can work in a business setting - Dell claims that the ability to ditch the often expensive BlackBerry Enterprise Servers required to run a CrackBerry operation could end up saving around 25 per cent of the overall mobile communications bill for the company.

In a move clearly designed to get right up RIM's nose, Gladden also confirmed that his company is to launch a service designed to help other corporations give up their BlackBerry infrastructure and make the move to Android or Windows Phone 7 powered devices within the next couple of weeks.

As for the old BlackBerry devices? "We actually had a conversation last night around creating a site on eBay where we can actually sell these BlackBerry devices," Gladden claims - proving, if there was ever any doubt, that he's the chief financial officer for a reason.