Ford drops BlackBerry for Apple's iPhone in two-year rollout plan

Summary:The automotive giant seeks to ditch its trusty BlackBerry devices in favor of iPhones, as part of a "global deployment" for its employees.

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Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

Ford becomes the next major US company to begin transitioning away from its BlackBerry reliance to Apple's iPhone.

The second-largest US car maker will replace BlackBerry's phones of about 3,300 employees by the end of this year, with a larger rollout of about 6,000 more employees receiving the Apple smartphone next year, according to a Ford spokesperson who spoke to Bloomberg on Tuesday.

"It meets the overall needs of the employees because it is able to serve both our business needs in a secure way and the needs we have in our personal lives with a single device," the spokesperson told the financial publication.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move comes as the automotive giant is seeking to hire a mobile technology analyst based in Dearborn, Michigan, where the company has its corporate headquarters, whose job will be to oversee the global iPhone deployment. 

In the job posting, the position will help prepare portions of the cycle plan, roadmap, and determine the requirements for Ford workers using the new iPhones.

It's not clear which devices the company will buy, considering the highly anticipated iPhone 6 is expected to launch later this year in August or September.

The deal comes just a week after Apple and IBM sealed the deal on a new enterprise collaboration project , which will set aside a long-standing rivalry between the companies, and join up to develop apps for corporate customers. 

Ford has close to 182,000 employees around the world. It's not clear how many other employees will receive iPhones. 

Nevertheless, BlackBerry, which was once the third-place player behind Apple, as well as Android-maker Google, has sunk to a fraction of a percentage point next to Windows Phone, which still has a single-digit market share, according to recent market share figures. And while Microsoft's mobile operating system continues to grow, albeit slowly, month over month, BlackBerry's share continues to drop.

Topics: Smartphones, Apple, BlackBerry, iOS, iPhone, Mobile OS, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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