BlackBerry maker to open research facility in Germany
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) announced Wednesday it will soon open its first research facility outside of Canada in Bochum, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany.
The facility is scheduled to open on the campus of Ruhr-Universität Bochum in the coming months with 140 new employees and with plans to expand to as many as 500 people, the company said in a statement.
It will focus on hardware and software development for its hugely popular BlackBerry mobile devices that combine telephone, email and Internet capabilities, with some €28 million ($45 million) to be invested in its first year of operation.
Coincidentally, cellphone maker Nokia recently announced it is closing a facility in Bochum on June 30, and cutting 2,300 jobs to reduce costs.
Until now, all of RIM's research and development has been done in Canada, a RIM spokeswoman told AFP.
"This new R&D facility will play a pivotal role in extending RIM's leadership in the smartphone market as we continue to focus on delivering best-in-class solutions to our customers," said Mike Lazaridis, RIM founder and president.
Some 14 million people around the world use RIM's BlackBerry, and the company has said it aims to sign up another 2.2 million by the end of the next quarter.
Reliance on BlackBerries is so fierce that they have been jokingly dubbed ‘CrackBerries’, in a reference to a tendency for their owners to compulsively check and send email as if it were an addiction.