It's no secret that BlackBerry is one sick company. Once the very definition of the corporate smartphone, now even BlackBerry's CEO is calling the company's survival a coin-toss. But BlackBerry will continue to have one famous, loyal customer: President Obama.
When the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently reported that the White House was testing Samsung and LG Android smartphones for internal use, it looked like Blackberry was going to lose its star customer. Specifically, the WSJ reported that a source had said that the White House Communications Agency, a military unit in charge of President Barack Obama's communications, was in the early stages of testing Android phones.
Some Android lovers took this to mean that Obama was ready to "ditch" the BlackBerry in favor of their favorite mobile operating system.
BlackBerry, in a statement, kept a stiff upper lip: "We value the long-term relationship we’ve had with the White House and have been securing their mobile communications for more than a decade. The U.S. government requires the highest levels of security. Governments test new technologies frequently, but nevertheless the U.S. government continues to choose BlackBerry for its unmatched security and cost effectiveness. Other vendors such as Samsung and LG still have a long way to go to catch up to meet the government’s stringent requirements and certifications."
Alas, the user-in-chief will continue to type out his e-mails on his specially strengthened BlackBerry. White House spokesman Jay Carney told the Associated Press that the "Executive Office of the President isn't participating in any pilot programs affecting its hand-held devices."
An unidentified White House spokesman also told the Washington Post that "the Executive Office of the President is not involved in any pilot program for testing non-BlackBerry phones and that there is nothing new to share about the president's BlackBerry."
None of this is too surprising. After all, Obama is the man who once said of his BlackBerry, "They're going to have to pry it out of my hands."
That's good news for BlackBerry. Still, with comScore reporting that in January 2014, BlackBerry was down to a mere 3.1 percent of the smartphone market. Worse still, IDC reported that in 2013's fourth quarter BlackBerry's market sales were down to a pathetic 0.70 percent.
It's going to take more than the President to save BlackBerry's bacon. BlackBerry smartphones may stay in the White House until 2017, when a new President is inaugurated, but it's hard to imagine that he or she will be carrying a BlackBerry with the oath of office is taken.