BlackBerry brand hurt by corporate mandate to use them

Survey finds users prefer phones they choose themselves, while the BlackBerry is often issued by an employer

IT shops push BlackBerry smartphones on workers for added security, but a new survey shows that workers are less likely to be highly satisfied with them, compared with phones that the users choose themselves.

"Companies that force employees to use BlackBerries may be indirectly hurting the brand by fomenting low user loyalty," market research company Crowd Science, which conducted the survey, said in a statement.

The finding is ironic, given the BlackBerry's popularity with IT shops that want to have control over and manage the devices, as well as the greater security provided with Research In Motion's BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Crowd Science conducted the survey of 2,423 online visitors in late August. The survey showed that the BlackBerry is the smartphone brand most often chosen (in two out of three cases) by companies for employee use.

The survey found that 35% of respondents who had a smartphone that was "foisted on them by corporate mandate" were very satisfied with the brand, while 60% of users who had some choice in their smartphone purchase were very satisfied.

The survey also found that 19% of all BlackBerry users had their phone chosen for them, compared with just 4% each for an Android phone or an iPhone. Also, one-third of BlackBerry owners use their phones mostly or only for business, compared with 20% of all smartphone users.

"Combine the low satisfaction levels of users of corporate-mandated smartphones with the fact that there is a high proportion of these among BlackBerry owners, and you've got a key factor in the low overall loyalty we've seen in BlackBerry users for the past year," said Sandra Marshall, vice president of research at Crowd Science.

Only 45% of BlackBerry users said they were very satisfied with their phones, while 71% of iPhone users and 70% of Android users said they were very satisfied. Also, 30% of BlackBerry users said they would buy another BlackBerry for their next phone, while 70% of iPhone and Android users would stick with their current brands. Thirty-one percent of BlackBerry users said they would go to an iPhone, and 23% to an Android phone, if they had the opportunity.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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