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

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, iOS, iPhone, Mobile OS, Mobility, BlackBerry

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17 comments
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  • Why Apple?

    Why would you ever switch to Apple of all things? Ridiculous prices, minimal hardware choice, and everything locked down.
    Buster Friendly
    • Read the article

      "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.
      daikon
      • Do only 8 years work at ford?

        if had to use a small screen device I would just leave it at home and buy my own adult sized phone. Maybe they plan on IPhone 6's hopefully.

        Yeah carrying 2 phones is a pain the a**, nobody likes that.
        everss02
      • "it is able to serve both our business needs in a secure way"

        You see, that's where they're wrong but don't seem to realize it yet. First, what are the "business needs," merely email? Does that not include attachments? Where do the attachments go if there's no encrypted partition? How is the target download folder restricted? Can they edit spreadsheets and then forward in email? There's clearly much more to doing business than just email -- there's also access to company intranet and web-based applications, there are shared network drives. Just installing an MDM application, one that destroys battery life and responsiveness, doesn't secure all those functions. And that's where the "in a secure way" comes in; Security 101 class begins with "Security Must Be Baked In To Any Solution, Not Added On As An Afterthought." You can't provide security with an MDM app; that just gets you reactive functions such as remote lock and wipe. Limit your "business needs" to email only, even web-based, without attachment handling, and sure ANY handheld can do the job. But you're not really doing business.
        aninsider
        • Encrypted partition - everyone's been doing those for years now

          "Where do the attachments go if there's no encrypted partition?"

          They go on the encrypted partition, of course, it's been there for years on iPhones. (Being full disk encryption, it's not obvious, because there is no UNencrypted partition for data to live on!) Remote lock and wipe are also built in without adding anything, and the only problems I've ever had with three different VPN systems were the result of overly restricted WiFi services blocking ports and protocols they shouldn't, so access to internal or external web applications is no problem at all.
          james@...
          • full disk encryption

            Then it's not a partition. It's the entire space. This means there's no personal space - the company owns all of it - and you lose it when you leave employment or contract. The world is moving toward BYOD, everyone says it's inevitable, but to do so with anything other than a Blackberry means you relinquish personal use of your phone for the duration of engagement with a company. That's not BOYD, it's Buy a Company-Managed Device. Remember that remote lock and wipe were only built in after Blackberry set the standard. Most companies do not allow personnel with devices, let alone their own phones, to access the intranet because that's not in a partition and separated from external browsing. Again, only on the Blackberry is there a workspace with its own browser, separate from the personal browser.
            aninsider
          • I mean, if I need to state the obvious...

            Bringing your own Android or iPhone to work, or using a company device for personal tasks, is eroding the privacy of the citizen. I believed, perhaps wrongly, that people cared about their freedom.
            aninsider
    • I'm happy with my Android phone

      but I would have thought what you point out to be negatives are actually positives for a phone a company plans to roll out to its staff. Except for the prices of course, but I would imagine Ford would have negotiated a bulk discount.
      DJL64
    • "everything locked down"

      Now, why would an enterprise like Ford want that I wonder?

      You need to get out more.
      paddle.
      • "everything locked down"

        Everything encrypted and locked down, visible to the company that installed the MDM application. And, upon termination, the entire phone is bricked: photos, video, music, contacts, personal applications, application settings... all gone. Now that's not really serving the needs we have in our personal lives, is it?
        aninsider
    • and POOR SECURITY

      do not forget about back-doors and very poor security!! Ford must be insane tu put at risk all its employees and business.....

      "Apple iOS contains snooping-friendly features, says security researcher - Up to 600m devices affected"
      "iPhone is most vulnerable, least secure smartphone in the market, security firm finds"
      "40% of iOS popular apps invade your privacy without any permission"
      "Apple iOS Apps Leak More Personal Info Than Android"
      Jiří Pavelec
  • Buster Friendly: "Why Apple?"

    1. Ford is an enterprise and Apple, with the iPhone and iPad, is an enterprise company (this precedes the IBM agreement).
    2. How do you know how much Ford is paying Apple?
    3. A single (or very few) smartphone model(s) is easier for mobile admins to manage.
    4. Smart enterprises want their end points locked down, including smartphones.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • the iPhone and iPad, is an enterprise company?

      "Blackberry will never sell as many phones as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) because its products are not geared for users whose mobile messaging needs are mostly 3 character text messages or 140 character tweets. But while Blackberry’s core users are not as numerous as Apple’s, they value their mobile messaging service highly and are willing to pay a premium for it because it enhances their ability to conduct business."

      www.forbes.com/sites/kenkam/2014/08/01/sticking-with-blackberry-for-the-double/
      aninsider
  • Wow, bad reporting.

    Dummy, Apple's GUI runs on the QNX CAR platform which is from BlackBerry. Ford dumped Microsoft.
    aninsider
    • For Ford Employees

      “The second-largest U.S. car maker will replace BlackBerry's phones for 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 earlier on Tuesday.”
      daikon
    • The article,

      did you read it? This is about their corporate phone policy, not about the infotainment system in their cars.
      Low_tech
      • My apologies

        Right you are, I'm sorry. I'd merely scanned too quickly. I'm used to seeing a LOT of negative and inaccurate BS about BB lately and, not having the time to read fully, assumed this was old news and just the typical bashing. Still, I'm surprised that in this day and age of BOYD a company would settle on just one, and the horrid headaches of MDM clients on iPhones and Androids sucking battery and responsiveness, a company would choose iPhone solely. I haven't met a happy camper yet who allowed a corporate MDM client to be installed. It will be interesting to watch their progress.
        aninsider