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By GCN Staff

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Is government losing its taste for BlackBerry?

BlackBerry's once unquestioned position as an invaluable tool at government agencies continues to erode.

Research In Motion suffered its latest setback as the de facto mobile device in federal government when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) selected the iPhone as its new mobile platform, InfoWeek reports.

After eight years of using BlackBerry, the agency, part of the Homeland Security Department, indicated in a solicitation on FedBizOpps.gov  that it would no longer be using the device, joining a growing list of government organizations that increasingly are turning to Android and iOS smart phones.

The agency attributed the change in strategy to increases in mobile capabilities — the availability of thousands of applications, for example — and end user expectations. 

In all, 17,676 ICE employees will receive iPhones instead of BlackBerrys, according to InfoWeek, which also noted that Federal Air Marshall Service, the Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are switching, or already have switched, away from the BlackBerry platform.

Compounding the problem for the Canadian manufacturer RIM, procurement documents released this week by the Defense Department for mobile device management software included BlackBerry management only as a “nice-to-have.”

Nevertheless, BlackBerry still has a big footprint in the government market. RIM puts its government business at 1 million users in North America, with 400,000 device upgrades last year alone, InfoWeek reported, citing company documents.

Posted by GCN Staff on Oct 25, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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