Tools & Technologies

One US Government Agency Dropping the BlackBerry – Hello iPhone

The US Immigration & Customs Enforcement agency is dropping the BlackBerry for 17,600 employees and moving to the iPhone. The reasoning behind the transition was recently published:

RIM’s BlackBerry phones have been favored by law enforcement agencies around the world because of the high-level of security they provided, which makes the ICE decision significant.

ICE relied on RIM’s technology for over eight years as the standard for handheld devices that provide telephone, email, messaging, calendaring and to a limited extent mobile applications. The standardization has allowed ICE to efficiently maintain operational capabilities, train end-users, and manage security, according to the document.

RIM ranked far lower than Android and Apple devices on commercial viability. RIM and Nokia’s Symbian helped to define the smartphone market, but both companies failed to innovate, and consumers have rejected them, according to the document. The net effect is that both firms have been relegated to laggards in the consumer market which has made them too risky for adoption as a “go-to” choice for enterprise use, it added.

Microsoft phones including the Phone 7 were likewise identified as risky because of their limited use in the market.

Michael’s Comments
1. Poor commercial viability. Lack of innovation. Consumers have rejected them. Ouch – three strikes and you’re out.

2. It remains to be seen whether other government agencies will follow the lead of ICE, either directly or in parallel. This has got to be a discussion that’s going on all across the lands in which RIM plays.

3. In some ways, this transition is the BYOD movement writ large. Consumers have preferences, and as those preferences change, it has a flow on effect to corporate decisions on devices / systems. Thus a strong foothold in the consumer market eventually flows through to what organizations do, which makes some sense.

4. To say that RIM has a lot running on BlackBerry 10 to reignite commercial viability, its reputation for innovation, and new love from consumers is an understatement.

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