Crikey. Word leaked out last week that the authorities in the United Arab Emirates - the Middle Eastern nation that's home to ultra-rich business hubs Dubai and Abu Dhabi - was making grumbling noises about the extensive use by foreign businesspeople of RIM's ever-popular BlackBerry. Now, it's been announced the gadget is to be basically banned entirely.

While the iPhone may have captivated consumer markets, 'CrackBerry' - so nicknamed for the addictive nature of its instant email delivery - remains the smartphone of choice for most businesses. But for those operating in the Middle East, that looks set to be a problem.

The UAE's beef is with the way BlackBerry manages email. Unlike some services which would route email, text messages and instant messages through a local network, BlackBerry's system sends the data straight to its own servers abroad - meaning it bypasses the government's 'security' (read, 'spying') apparatus.

The ban won't prevent people owning a BlackBerry in the UAE, but it will prevent them using it to email, surf the web, or send instant messages. Which pretty much makes it a very expensive basic mobile...

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