Pentagon Will Expose BlackBerry to Attacks From Apple and Android
The U.S. Department of Defense has long been a BlackBerry stronghold, but that may soon change thanks to a new policy the agency will adopt next year.
In February of 2014, the Pentagon will broadly open its networks to iPhones and iPads and smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android OS. Rather than issue its employees the same device, the agency wants to offer them a choice of devices. “We’re going to be device agnostic,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Wheeler, the Pentagon’s deputy chief information officer, said during a press conference Tuesday, adding that this does not mean the Pentagon is embracing a “Bring Your Own Device” plan.
Rather, the DoD is going multi-vendor and offering any company that can meet its stringent security guidelines the chance to compete for what are surely some very lucrative contracts.
That’s bad news for BlackBerry, of course. The company is by far the Pentagon’s biggest supplier of smartphones. Of the 600,000-plus mobile devices in use by the agency, 470,000 are BlackBerrys. That could begin to change next year when the new policy goes into effect. Certainly, it seems likely to usher in a new era of competition for the Pentagon’s business — which is not to say BlackBerry will lose the traction it has established with the DoD, just that it’s going to have to fight a lot harder to retain it.