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Microsoft Windows Phone Cleared for Government Use, but Will Enterprise Customers Follow?

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The US and Canada put a vote of confidence in WP security.

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If you look around at the mindless lemmings staring at their phones as they walk down the street of any city, it might seem like the mobile platform market is a two-horse race between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). That is, outside of Washington, DC.

Government workers are famous, if sometimes reluctant BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) users. Did you notice that in the Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) series House of Cards all the characters connected to the government used them? People who work for courts, the military, or any sensitive government agency are issued BlackBerrys for security reasons. The Canadian company's biggest asset is its much-touted security and encryption algorithms. Apple's iOS 6 devices were only approved for Department of Defense use in May. Today, Windows Phone 8 joined the list of government-approved devices, giving Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) thousands of potential customers.

Today, Windows Phone 8 was granted what is called FIPS 140-2 accreditation, which is used to evaluate the level of a device's security and the cryptographic algorithms it uses to protect the secrets locked in its guts. It still isn't approved for Department of Defense-level clearance, but it does pave the way for it to join BlackBerry, Apple, and a few Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) devices as ready for bas
nokia lumina phoneic sensitive information.

This could improve Windows Phone adoption for enterprise and even give Microsoft a marketing angle. If it's secure enough for spooks, you can rest assured that proprietary company data and such stays safe on them. Also, with Office software built in, it could cement Microsoft's enterprise focus. Companies that have a bring-your-own-device policy might nudge employees to pick a Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Windows Phone.

This isn't good news for BlackBerry at all. With this crypto certification, Windows Phones can even be issued to government employees on their home turf in Canada.

Enterprise adoption could help boost Window Phone's market share, making the problem of weak reception -- a current complaint among consumers -- less of a issue. Despite some sleek designs and quality specs, Microsoft's phone is still a distant third to the Android and iPhone platforms, according to both comScore and Kantar.

(See also: The Biggest iPhone 5S Feature Nobody's Talking About)

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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