U.S. agency gives BlackBerry 10 a chance after iPhone coup

U.S. agency gives BlackBerry 10 a chance after iPhone coup

Summary: One U.S. federal agency is giving RIM one more chance by testing BlackBerry 10 in the new year, after it recently announced it would ditch the BlackBerry platform in favor of rolling out iPhones.


A U.S. federal agency has reneged on its plans to ditch the BlackBerry in favor of iPhones -- at least, to a degree -- after it announced that it would give Research in Motion's next-generation BlackBerry 10 platform a chance.

BlackBerry 10 developer device. Credit: CNET

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency recently said it would pull the plug on its contract with the beleaguered BlackBerry maker in favor of Apple's iPhone, due to its back-end management features and IT policy restrictions.

Outlining the plans in its so-called "solicitation" document, ICE said it was looking favorably at iPhones for its 17,600 employees, amounting to a deal with around $2.1 million to the humble American taxpayer.

But now, the U.S. immigration agency will early next year trial the new range of BlackBerry 10 handsets after they go on sale on January 30, along with the next-generation back-end secure messaging service, BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 (BES 10), a spokesperson for RIM told the Reuters news agency.

Read this

U.S. Customs ditches RIM, picks Apple: Another enterprise client down

U.S. Customs ditches RIM, picks Apple: Another enterprise client down

Another day, another scrap of bad news for the beleaguered BlackBerry maker. This time around, despite prospects of a financial turnaround, a major enterprise customer pulls out.

It comes at a delicate time when RIM is preparing its enterprise customers for the next wave of BlackBerry smartphones amid financial troubles, after the firm failed to keep up with competition across the board.

"The iPhone services will allow these individuals to leverage reliable, mobile technology on a secure and manageable platform in furtherance of the agency's mission," the solicitation document read. A few weeks later, Barclays sent an industry-wide 'Bat-Signal' by buying around 8,500 iPads for its banking services.

Many other U.S. government agencies are reneging on their long-trusted BlackBerry programs to jump ship to Apple. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also said it would drop their contract with RIM in order to seek alternatives.

The NTSB's own solicitation document twisted in the already dug-in knife by claiming "performance issues with the Blackberry devices." The NTSB added that the agency "requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry-out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations."

In November, the U.S. government awarded BlackBerry 10 crucial government certification to run the next-generation operating system and platform in a government setting. FIPS 140-2 certification is required for government use. While Apple's mobile platform received similar grading in the eyes of the U.K. government, the U.S. has yet to certify any mobile device outside the BlackBerry range. 

RIM shares are at the highest they have been since May 1, more than seven months ago. Shares have been climbing on recent news that the BlackBerry 10 platform is looking better than first expected, following strong developer responses.

NASDAQ:RIMM over the last six months to date. Source: Google Finance

Having said that, looking at the wider picture over the past five years, it's clear to see that while RIM recovers from a massive slump in share price, the firm has certainly had its hay day -- at least, for now.

NASDAQ:RIMM over the last five years to date. Source: Google Finance

It should be said that, while at this stage it looks 'possible' rather than 'likely' that RIM could recover to pre-U.S. recession share levels in the coming year, RIM will have all but run out of options if BlackBerry 10 fails to take off.

(via Reuters)

Topics: BlackBerry, Government US, iPhone, Smartphones

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  • Create the business need tailored to what I want...

    Then pick my preferred vendor! The government way!

    Othe government agencies have iSupporters driving technology decisions based on fads and consumer envy rather than solid business cases. Mountain Lion and other versions are not certified as secure for Government use and still they are used internally?

    At the same time, the industry is moving to BYOD and other policies the government is buying toys?

    But hey, a billion dollars here or there wasted in times of multi trillion dollar debts, really that is ok!

    Just more crony capitalism in the government!
    • My Thoughts exactly

      My thoughts exactly, why are we spending tax payer dollars on all these toys for these government agencies?? Their employees get paid a descent salary so they might as well institute BYOD and let the employee foot the bill for their own device.
      • descent?

        to where?
        decent is what you meant to say.
        Here in the Gov't agency I work for a stipend is paid for those who need a phone for business use and BTOD. It also comes with a benefit, if You have a government phone you are on call 24/7, but if you use your own you aren't. Some of th emanagers have IPads as well, for mobile access to email, etc.
        decent salary is a matter of view from where you might be standing.
  • Safe amd Secure?????

    Two words - Apple Maps.
  • Blackberry for the Gov...sure.

    Everything is secure if it is not a target. iPhone is world wide used but not really a target as the goverment or Microsoft OS and I don't think Apple is doing all that great of a job with the UNIX system. One other MAJOR problem with Apple is that they do not give discounts, Android phones are always a bargain but still new...not secure enough and Microsoft is too big of a target.

    Maybe having Blackberry dedicate themselves to the goverment is not a bad idea because I'm guessing they will not do well with the general consumer. Not sure about the rest of you but the only time I hear anyone talk about Blackberry is on this website.
    • Are you completely nuts my friend ?

      Blackberry is the one secure platform and the one government agencies have tried to get access to for a long time. In direct opposition we all know you can extract all you like off a locked igadget, without the password, using iexplorer. True that changes if you use a ring-fenced app but then it's not an open device like you all portray. Then there's the server infrastructure for your secure apps...... Hey everybody with a mission to kick RIM forgets to mention these wee details and the multiple servers you'll need. I'm betting Bes10 will be far more useful than some of the anti-RIM brigade hope (and I say hope as there's so much stupid hatred in these threads). Me... I have ipad, iphone4, Blackberry Torch (preferred), Asus Tablet but still want RIM to progress. I like the thought of one management tool to control the stuff I work with daily and time will tell. As for discounts; who cares? I want a device that lasts a few days on a charge, and does what I want for work. I dont need music and I don't need 99% of the apps most folk have downloaded. Work and pleasure are two different things. BYOD is no excuse.... it'll be bring your own if it can connect securely. It wont be apple email, and airprint or whatever $hit it's called this week!
  • I'd love nothing more than Apple being beaten on price

    I hope BB and RIM makes a full recovery.
    I hope their BBX actually is impressive, and competitive with iOS and Android, while maintaining the security and security management that they've traditionally offered.

    And with the drain that I believe Apple is placing on our economy (charging unprecedented amounts for devices with last-year's technology, despite manufacturing their single-model phone in numbers far eclipsing any competitor's device - in China and not in the USA), I hope that RIM offers the government a discount, severely undercutting the iPhone.
    Apple needs to start competing, needs to recognize that if people are paying for cutting-edge, modern devices they want to get cutting-edge modern day technology in those devices.
    Unprecedented profit margins result in unprecedented profits - Apple has over $100B cash, and all (ok, LOTS of) those are dollars that came out of the US economy - and went to China en route to Apple's bank account. Sad.
    Something needs to spark an Apple decline, similar to what happened in the 80's. Public awareness needs to be greater.

    Unfortunately, Apple is brilliant at controlling the spin, at managing it's image, at controlling media at a level that transcends (yet includes) marketing. Pure genius at that level - but it's harmful to the economy, to competition, to technological growth as Apple begins to try to sue competitors rather than compete with them.
    Hopefully BB can compete with the big players again.
    I'm rooting for the underdog.
  • i hope it works out...

    Having used all platforms, I would still go with blackberry when working with sensitive information. I understand that they have had a couple of hiccups in the past 2 years with wide scale data outages, but for enterprise security they are still unsurpassed.

    I just hope that Blackberry 10 brings them back up to par with the competition in terms of performance and capabilities.
    Jeremy Walters
  • Finally...

    A report celebrating intelligence and good decision making. Good job Government!
  • FIPS 140-2 certification is required for government use.

    Sounds like somebody assumed that iPhones would get certified, and had to change direction when they did not. That person is now probably in charge of inventorying ice cubes at a research station in Nome, Alaska.
  • Moving to WP8 would be much better and cost far less.

    Better hardware, better software, better management, better security, far less cost to the tax payer. And much better sdk enabling them to build better apps and much quicker for any custom apps the govt needs built. There is no comparision. Any enterprise, government, or school should be looking to move to WP8 and W8, not iphone and ipad.
    Johnny Vegas
    • You haven't read about BlackBerry10 I suspect

      Johnny I don't think you've read about BlackBerry10 nor BES10, BES5 is what the Governments have been using for MDM, and BES10 takes what was great about BES5 and makes it easier to manage, WindowsPhone 8 does not have FIPS security certification, it doesn't support most 3rd party MDM solutions, and has BASIC control hooks compared to BlackBerry devices.

      RIM's SDK for BlackBerry 10 allows developers to build apps in HOURS vs days with other platforms, while also having the infrastructure to distribute apps to end users BlackBerry 10 is being built with Business/Enterprise in mind as to their control needs, and BES10 is the cheapest FULL MDM/EMM solution available.

      ICE made a good choice.
  • WP8 for an institution intertwined with Windows.

    I can't imagine why the government would go with iPhone, or Android for that matter. Most of their computers run on Windows so a Windows Phone 8 would make more sense. It would integrate mobile users with MS Office documents and Exchange infrastructure. I don't want Blackberry to go under but their best contribution to mobile phones has always been a permanent keyboard. A WP8 model with permanent keyboard would be the prime candidate for government service.
    • Great point

      Windows phone with say a offering of special developed hardware phone sets seems the way to go.
  • Really iPhone?

    I cannot imagine the Government with a toy like iPhone in the field as a solid relevant device. The platform is limited restrained structure for the weak at heart user like the kids and grandma so they don't do anything but make calls and play.
  • Camera issue with phones and security requirements

    A major problem with the iPhone is the camera. Apple will not remove it and if you do, it voids the warranty. I worked for DOD at a Naval Shipyard. If you are caught with a camera phone, it is a one way ticket to the gate never to return. I am sure there are many other federal jobs with the same requirement. Any phone with a camera is a non starter for such entities.
  • BB

    Be safe use BlackBerry...