NTSB drops 'unacceptable' BlackBerrys in favor of iPhones

NTSB drops 'unacceptable' BlackBerrys in favor of iPhones

Summary: Yet another U.S. government department is planning to ditch RIM in favor of alternatives, such as the iPhone, dubbing the BlackBerry platform "unacceptable."


The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the latest federal government agency to drop the BlackBerry smartphone in favor of alternatives, naming the iPhone as the prime contender, but didn't go about the move quietly.

In fact, the NTSB was more than vocal on its experience with the fruit-themed smartphones. 

According to a U.S. government procurement request -- following in similar steps to the U.S. Customs department, along with the Pentagon, the U.S. ATF, and others -- the NTSB said the department would be looking "for the acquisition of Apple iPhone 4 devices," adding that the BlackBerry devices "have been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate."

"Due to performance issues with the Blackberry devices, the NTSB desires to transition to a different device under Verizon’s device refresh program," the document noted.

The department -- which investigates travel incidents, such as air crashes and train accidents -- added that its planned move to replace BlackBerrys with iPhone 5 devices is part of moves to "standardize on a minimum number of operating platforms." The NTSB already uses iPad devices, for instance. 

"The NTSB requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry-out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations," the procurement document added.

The NTSB is one of many government departments moving away from the platform as it is seen as increasingly unreliable, expensive, and inefficient compared to rivals. Despite it being the only platform compatible with the U.S. government requirements for security -- thanks to BlackBerry's secure back-end infrastructure for secure communications -- Apple's iPhone is increasingly making waves among various government units. 

According to CNN, an NTSB spokesperson declined to cite any specific examples of the platform and smartphone's pitfalls or failings, but a handful of outages have left some looking for alternatives to the Research in Motion-built smartphone range.

A RIM spokesperson said in a previous statement had "one million government customers" in North America, including Canada, where the firm is based.

Well, that's one million minus the NTSB's approximate 400 employees. 

Topics: BlackBerry, Government US

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  • National "Transportation"... ? iOS Maps?

    I don't get it... - Josh Baskin
    • Oy

      Fairly confident that the NTSB has access to their own GIS systems and won't be using Apple maps.
    • National "Transportation"... ? iOS Maps?

      Yes, that's a head shaker. Why don't they upgrade their handsets, or better yet, go with Windows Phone 8 and assure their security requirements? Nokia maps anyone? They have downloadable maps for the world to use when you are out of cell tower and WiFi range.
  • Sorry

    They will be sorry, failures and outages? Wait until their iPhones start doing the buggy things! My kid had his 4S just a few days when it crapped out with a problem that renders the iPhone useless! It was essentially a brick. NTSB will be getting i 5's and they have their own set of issues! iPhones are fun and slick and there are tons of apps, but security ain't one of their strong suits! As well as all the data that Apple picks off the things ... NTSB is going to be OK with that? Lets sit back and watch!
    Randall Donaldson
    • Wait till they get the roaming charges

      NTSB sometimes go abroad. The author knows full well how much it costs to roam with an iphone
      • And being that even Verizon's iPhone 5 can take SIM cards for world travel

        ... and thus NOT incur international roaming charges, unlike, say, most CDMA Android phones, what, exactly, is your point?
    • I call B.S.

      Or incompetence. First of all, if that were really the case, simply taking it pack to place of purchase for a full restore, or replacement would have rendered your ENTIRE comment moot.
      Second, if it was bricked, it is more than likely that your son made a ham-fisted attempt at jail breaking it, and failed. Stock iOS rarely, if ever, bricks itself. But again, if this was one of those rare occasions that it did, a simple trip to the Apple store or wherever you got it would have resolved the problem.
      Third, what does your son bricking his iPhone have to do with security? (Clue: NOTHING.)
      Fourth, iOS is incredibly secure in terms of data. What are you talking about?
      Fifth, what data are you claiming Apple "picks off these things?" If you are talking about that locationgate nonsense, please take at least five minutes to research the issue before you bother to reply.
      Lastly, what possible relevance does your clearly anecdotal story have to the purchase decisions of the NTSB?!?
  • so?

    RIM still holds a vast majority of government & enterprise contracts, BB10 can't get here soon enough so these whiny employees can stopping begging the boss to let them bring the toys to work.
    If a government agency consisting of 5 employees dropped Blackberry zdnet would be on top of it.
    • And being that the NTSB has thousands of employees, your point is?

  • How About updating the phone

    Most companies are using Blackberry phones that still run BB5. They buy 8800 series curves. how about updating to the bold brand. Curve series blackberries are crap.

    Most of them just want it cause its touch screen. hmm well lets see the bold 9900 is touch screen with a keyboard. not to mention BB10 is on its way. there is nothing special about the iphonepadpod.
    • There is nothing special about the blackberryQNX

      (See, I can do that too.)
  • What BB phones where they using?

    I've seen this all over... but not one mentions what handsets they where on. A little research would be nice... anyone call NTSB at all to confirm?
    • RIM knows ..

      They can see form the NOC what they are using, I'd love to see them call this org out and expose them for using dated devices, likely 8800 / 8300 from what 4 years ago? How do they determine if an outage is due to a faulty Blackberry or the carrier having tower issues?

      Yeah it sucks using old devices but RIM has had for a year an incentive to basically move to a BB OS 7 device for free AND you get a kick back. So all the people complaining about Blackberry issues shouldn't throw stones unless their BB OS 7 devices were crappy out. We're replaced all our devices with the Bold 9900 and for one it's a solid business device and two it cost us next to nothing to upgrade and three the majority of employees LOVE the thing. They were impressed with the build quality, browser speed etc.

      NTSB will feel some pain as we tried iPhone as a corporate standard and the simple fact is Apple is lousy as an enterprise partner nor has anything near what RIM provides for enterprise support. Everything they do is consumer focused. Works great for BYOD and crashes and burns into flames when you try and scale and deployed hundreds of them. Hope the NTSB has an answer for the need for creating 400 iTunes accounts (and the 400 credit cards needed for each one)

      To wrap this rant up - can we stop with all the RIM piling on? Do you run articles when a company moves from Lenovo to HP laptops? Or Dell loses out to someone? It's petty and unless your going to write both sides it's a bit fanboish which considering all the positives about BB10 the past month as all the Pro-Apple people squirming as iMap flops, Siri still sucks, iOS 6 issues, another iMessenger outage, lackluster hardware upgrades. What you should be writing - is Apple the new RIM?
      • Wow, for a Mobile Admin, you sure wear your incompetence on your sleeve!

        1) iTunes is NOT necessary, either for corporate side-loading of apps, or for consumer use. Welcome to 2012, 2007 wants their iPhones back.
        2) Nor are credit cards needed.
        3) Corporate side loading of apps without the App Store, and admin utilities have been available for aeons.
        4) Considering the mass migration of any number of other businesses away from RIM, and their beleaguered position in the stock market, another large loss is a story. Not so with a company moving from Lenovo to HP.
    • I love my torch...

      But the other half screen stuff is crud. Even the new 9900 is pi$$ and has junk battery life. I've an iphone but prefer this BB with enterprise Notes.

      I wouldn't touch a half screen non touch BB and RIM better cut the choice AND deliver full screen to survive. We've said this for years and still they deliver 99 devices that are essentially the same. Why bother?
  • Incompetance!

    Why not Android?
    Tim Acheson
    • Because Android sucks, perhaps?

  • Oops...

    They'll be sorry, just like I was when I tried an iPhone and returned it. Love my BB Bold 9930. Best phone I've ever had.
    • WOW!

      ITOdeed, are you crazy?