Samsung close to mobile-device deal with FBI -sources

Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:50pm EDT
 
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* Deal would be big boost for South Korean tech company

* Samsung has been vying to make inroads with gov't agencies

* Potential deal garnering some concern in political circles

By Euan Rocha and Sinead Carew

July 19 (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is close to signing a deal to sell its popular line of Galaxy devices to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

The deal would be a boost for Samsung, which is increasingly seeking to cater to the needs of government agencies, a niche long dominated by Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd .

The FBI, with more than 35,000 employees, at present uses mainly BlackBerry devices. It is unclear whether the agency plans to replace all BlackBerry equipment with Galaxy models or whether it will use hardware from both companies.

A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment on the matter, saying that the selection of its new smartphones is part of an active acquisition process and any current discussions are proprietary to the government.

The imminent deal was initially reported by the Wall Street Journal late on Thursday. The WSJ also said Samsung is close to signing a smaller order for its devices with the U.S. Navy, citing people familiar with the matter.   Continued...