On Wednesday, March 20, news broke
that the United States Department of Defense was ordering 650,00 iOS devices from Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL), including 120,00 iPads, 100,000 iPad minis, 200,000 iPod touches, and 210,00 iPhones. The DoD has used BlackBerry
(NASDAQ:BBRY) products for many years, and Electronista, the first site to break the news, cited the expense of the new BlackBerry 10 software, and its incompatibility with older phones, as reasons for the shift. The DoD currently has 470,000 BlackBerry phones for daily use; the news implied that the Apple purchase would end entirely BlackBerry's tenure at the Department.
However, the "news" was proved untrue yesterday when Computerworld reported
that a spokesman for the DoD, Air Force Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, officially denied that the Department is dumping BlackBerry. Instead, Pickart said that the DoD is "moving towards a new mobile management capability that supports a variety of devices, to include BlackBerry." The Department's new multi-vendor approach will be in full swing by February 2014 when 100,000 different devices will be supported for use in the Department.
The erroneous news reported by Electronista and many other outlets has large implications for the future of BlackBerry and its new BB10 operating system. If the DoD were to abandon BlackBerry, would other organizations and agencies as well? Fortunately for the company formerly known as Research in Motion, BlackBerry's presence at the DoD will continue.
BlackBerry has been a favorite of the DoD and other government agencies for its enterprise and security features, but Apple, Samsung
(PINK:SSNLF), and Android
(NASDAQ:GOOG) have nearly caught up with BlackBerry in those areas. The new policy will allow employees more freedom in choosing what device they will use. As of now, the DoD uses 470,000 BlackBerry devices, 41,000 iOS phones, and 8,700 Androids.
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Disclosure: Minyanville has a business relationship with BlackBerry.
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