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

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

Summary: 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.

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The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a division of the U.S. Homeland Security, is pulling the plug on its enterprise contract with Research in Motion, the struggling BlackBerry maker.

Instead, the Homeland Security agency will ditch the BlackBerry, which it has used for the best part of a decade, in favor of iPhones for its 17,600 employee base -- a deal thought to be worth in the region of $2.1 million, according to the so-called "solicitation" document.

That figure, of course, will no doubt come out of the taxpayer's kitty. 

BlackBerry smartphones are the only devices to have reached U.S. government certification, thanks to the military-grade secure BlackBerry Enterprise Server infrastructure that powers the secure communications platform.

However, ICE said it had "analyzed" Apple's iOS devices and Google-powered Android smartphones, and found that "for the near term" the iPhone offers the best technology due to Apple's firm grip on the hardware platform, and the set policy management features of the mobile operating system.

According to the document, regarding the ability to "assert direct control over the devices that implement their operating systems and implement measures to detect and disable attempts to modify the operating system" -- or how secure the device is -- "Apple and RIM receive full scores (five)' Google was scored as a one."

One of the main fears is that the company will go bust, leaving the agency with tens of thousands of expensive bricks. 

"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.

RIM said, according to Reuters, that after the ICE decision, the firm still had "one million government customers" in North America, including Canada, where the firm is based.

According to AllThingsD, RIM said it was "disappointed" by the decision, but said the platform was the "best solution for government agencies."

The news that the BlackBerry maker has lost yet another contract comes a week after 25,000-employee strong technology consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton ditched around 25,000 BlackBerry devices in favor of switching to both Android and iOS powered devices, reports the Reuters news agency.

RIM continues to see recovery, but faced heavy investor criticism after the Ontario, Canada-based phone maker pushed back the scheduled release of the next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system and new supporting smartphones.

Image credit: Scott Beale/Flickr.  

Topics: BlackBerry, Apple, Enterprise Software, iPhone, Smartphones

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7 comments
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  • What a poor waste of taxpayer money. They could save millions going with

    Nokia or HTC or Samsung WP phones and at the same time get security much better than ios.
    Johnny Vegas
  • iOS is still NOT Secured Enough. ICE MADE A BIG MISTAKE!

    # one thing is iOS still has Not pass the FIPS-140-2 validation. Sure its in process but it has been like that for over two years now and still pending. Normally it only takes 8-12 months to get the FIPS-140-2 validation.

    So the US ICE really trust iOS over FIPS-140-2 validation BlackBerry and its new up coming BlackBerry 10 devices that are powered by QNX with military level certifications? QNX has the highest level of security certifications in the military hands down.

    http://www.qnx.com/products/certifications.html

    iphones and Android devices get jailbroken all the time and the bootloader unlocked while RIM devices are tampered resistance. When was the last time you heard QNX Neutrino RTOS getting hacked or when was the last time you heard QNX Neutrino RTOS having malware? NEVER

    Because there is no such thing as malware for QNX real time operating system. QNX Neutrino RTOS has a safe secured microkernel architecture with integrity scan, with fault tolorent. The microkernel is so secured that every thing is separated from the microkernel like device drivers, file system work and personal, networking. If an application crashes or device driver fails it will not bring the whole system down due to the microkernel can safely restart a process, application or an application without effecting the microkernel. QNX designed not to crash and run 24/7. Thats how reliable and secured QNX is. Can Android and iOS do that? No because they are not microkernel based real time operating system with fault tolorent. The boodloader is also locked down with RSA boot ROM code implanted during the manufacturing process. RIM also does a good job on patching up jailbreaks when they accure. QNX was also able to pass the FIPS-140-2 along with RIM certicom cryptography modules. So basically RIM gets the FIPS-140-2 validation on two factors. Operating System and data encryption cryptograpghy modules. Sure a few Android devices like Motorola Droid 2 get the FIPS-140-2 but thats only for data encryption modules NOT including the operating system its self. Android is known to have a lot of vulnerabilities to its operating system.

    So how many times have you hear security flaws about iOS and Android? A LOT

    Home many times you heard Android with malware? Quite a bit

    How many times have you heard both Android and iOS getting hacked? Quite a bit

    Why do you think President Barack Obama still uses his BlackBerry smart phone over his iphone while in office and only uses his iphone and ipad for personal use? Again RIM's top of the assurance
    Emmanuel Fulton
    • There's more than that

      I think iPhone's mail and calendar integration is still garden variety ActiveSync isn't it? ActiveSync is a fine protocol, secure enough for most uses - but not BlackBerry grade, I don't think.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • When they get hacked they'll change their minds

      People never think about security until something bad happens.

      Maybe Anonymous will do something.
      T1Oracle
  • BlackBerry Mobile Fusion

    Another thing is why do you think iphones, ipads and other Android devices are hooked up and managed with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion? Wouldn't that tell you Android and iOS are not secured enough?
    Emmanuel Fulton
  • Nice move!

    I applaud U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a division of the U.S. Homeland Security and Give them a +1 for going with the best smartphone out there!!
    TimeForAChangeToBetter
  • windows does bigger deals with the gov, they should buy win phones

    Microsoft Signs $617 Million Windows 8 Contract With US Gov't
    gevabar