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HSBC bank may ditch BlackBerry for 200,000 iPhones - report

In what would surely be a blow Research in Motion, HSBC is considering a move that would strip its employees of their BlackBerry handsets and equip them with some 200,000 Apple iPhones instead.

"We are actually reviewing iPhones from a HSBC Group perspective ... and when I say that, I mean globally," HSBC's Australia and New Zealand chief information officer Brenton Hush told ZDNet.com.au on Tuesday.

HSBC is both world's largest company and banking group, with an estimated 330,000 employees globally. As such, a deployment of iPhones to just 200,000 staffers would be figuring 'conservatively,' Hush added.

"You know, it's a big decision, especially when you have an existing fleet out there," he said. "But it's definitely something we are considering from a HSBC Group perspective."

Other banks have been skeptical about unleashing the Apple handset onto their networks due to perceived inadequacies in email and security when compared to BlackBerry devices. Hush, who was recently promoted to chief information officer of the local arm of HSBC, doesn't share those same views however.

"I think [the iPhone] would change some underlying infrastructure considerations from an enterprise perspective," he said ."But [Apple] have been pretty smart with the design."

ZDNet notes that HSBC's global operations has a $6 billion annual technology budget and a technology team of 30,000 supporting 330,000 employees. Research in Motion's BlackBerry is currently the firm's standard issue handset.

HSBC is just one of over 165 Fortune 500 companies that have expressed interest in the iPhone by applying for developer status to Apple's iPhone software developer program.