John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

BlackBerry Holding on to D.C. Incumbency

Even as the Beltway’s interest drifts toward Apple’s iPhone and an ever-widening array of Android handsets, the BlackBerry’s foothold in Washington remains strong. Though sales of Research In Motion’s iconic device are slipping most everywhere else, they’re holding steady in the halls of government.

At least the way RIM tells it, anyway. Scott Totzke, RIM’s senior vice president of BlackBerry Security, tells Bloomberg that sales to the federal government are generally pretty good.

“Compared to the enterprise over the last year and a half or so, the federal business on whole is up,” said Totzke. “The employee base is shrinking, so if we’re looking at a market with fewer employees and our install base is stable to slightly up, that would seem to indicate that we have an increasing market share.”

There is a caveat to that argument, though. Until recently, RIM’s BlackBerry was among the only mobile platforms to be awarded FIPS 140-2 certification, the security requirement mandated by the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA) as standard for security in government agencies. But that’s beginning to change. There are now some FIPS 140-2 certified Android devices on the market and Apple is known to be seeking FISMA certification for the iPhone.

In other words, the BlackBerry doesn’t have the government market cornered anymore. And with more devices winning FISMA certs and more IT managers considering bring-your-own-device plans for their employees, RIM’s government stronghold may not be as solid as Totzke would like to think.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald