updated 04:25 pm EST, Tue November 23, 2010
Apple grabbing BlackBerry enterprise sales staff
A new discovery today on LinkedIn has confirmed that Apple has been 'stealing' RIM's BlackBerry enterprise sales staff to improve corporate iPhone sales [reg. required]. Starting with Strategic Sales lead Geoff Perfect, who left in April 2009, Apple has been acquiring an increasing number of staff over the past 1.5 years. He became the Head of Enterprise iPhone Sales, while four more, Paul Alvarez, Joe Bartlett, Peter Decker and Steve Marshall, left between January and June this year.
Alvarez was a Global Strategic Account Manager at RIM but was poached to work at Apple in the company's home territory, selling enterprise iPads and iPhones in Canada. Senior Global Sales Manager Bartlett now has a similar role to Alvarez in New England, while Decker and Marshall were both Global Account Managers and with Apple focus on the wider New York City area.
Apple has confirmed that it employs all five.
The hires confirm that Apple has been directly targeting RIM in its attempt to claim the upper hand in enterprise smartphones and in smartphones as a whole. Apple successfully outsold RIM in summer, only the second time since the iPhone went on sale, and has been scoring an increasing number of corporate iPhone options and occasionally full deals. iPads are also now used to varying degrees in about half of the Fortune 100 and are being sold directly to corporate buyers.
RIM co-chief Jim Balsillie has accused Apple of being dishonest with numbers and trying to justify Apple's tablet philosophy by downplaying competitors with smaller tablets like the BlackBerry PlayBook. However, RIM's own estimates of at most 14.4 million BlackBerries sold in the fall may not be enough to reclaim the lead and to offset mass defections to Apple and Google over the past year. The PlayBook also won't ship until early next year and may lose short-term performance advantages once a next-generation iPad and a slew of Android competitors ship at the same time.