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iPhone users to get $600 to switch to BlackBerry

TORONTO: BlackBerry is trying a new tactic to lure customers back — by paying them to switch phones. The Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker says it will pay iPhone users as much as $600 to switch to a BlackBerry Passport phone.

Canadian iPhone users with iPhone 4s or later makes are eligible for up to $400 in trade-in value, depending on the model of the iPhone, plus a $200 top-up from BlackBerry.

U.S. users are eligible for up to the same amount, plus a $150 US top-up. Users with the newest iPhone models, the 6 or 6 Plus, are eligible for the highest trade-in value, up to $400.

BlackBerry Ltd. is offering to pay iPhone users as much as $550 to switch to a square-screened BlackBerry Passport.

Starting in December, customers who trade in an iPhone for the keyboard-equipped Passport will get as much as $400 back depending on their Apple Inc. smartphone’s model and condition, plus a $150 prepaid gift card, BlackBerry said Monday in a statement. The promotion is only available in North America and lasts until Feb. 13.

After losing most of its smartphone market share to iPhones and devices running Google Inc.’s Android software, BlackBerry is focusing on selling to business and government users. It brought back the physical keyboard and is touting the ease of working on the Passport’s wide screen.

The deal is part of a blast of holiday promotions BlackBerry announced yesterday, including a Black Friday sale, a new financing program and red and white Passport phones. Chief Executive Officer John Chen has said he hopes to return the company to the consumer market one day.