John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Immigration and Customs Deports BlackBerry

It’s had a good, long run of it, but the BlackBerry’s days as the smartphone of choice at the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) are over. Evidently, ICE is switching to iOS.

According to a document first spotted by Reuters, ICE has ended its BlackBerry contract with Research In Motion, and has decided to switch its 17,600 employees over to iPhones. Why change mobile platforms after eight years? Simple: “RIM technology … can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency. … Apple iOS services offer the salient characteristics and critical functions essential to meeting the agency’s requirements, and market research indicates that no other company’s products can meet the agency’s needs.”

Brutal.

ICE’s decision to dump RIM just a few months before it ships its next-generation BlackBerry 10 platform is a nasty blow to the company whose handsets were once the de facto choice for government agencies. Now, with iOS and Google’s Android offering similarly strong security and mobile device management solutions, RIM appears to be ceding that advantage, as well.

That said, the company still has a lot of government contracts. Even after the ICE switch, it will have one million government customers in North America.

“Of course, we are disappointed by this decision,” Paul Lucier, RIM’s VP of Government Solutions told AllThingsD in an emailed comment. “I’m confident that BlackBerry is, and will continue to be, the best solution for government agencies. In fact, a recent study by Strategy Analytics shows that BlackBerry is more cost-effective and more secure than our competitors.”


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