Federal agency to switch to iPhone, drop BlackBerry

Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:00am EDT
 
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By Nicola Leske

(Reuters) - The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) said it will end its contract with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd in favor of Apple Inc's iPhone, dealing a new blow to RIM just months before it launches a vital new device.

The agency said in a solicitation document posted last week that it intends to buy iPhones for more than 17,600 employees - a purchase worth $2.1 million.

The agency said it has relied on RIM for eight years, but the company "can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency."

It also said it analyzed Apple's iOS-based devices and Google Inc's Android operating system and concluded that, for the near term, Apple's iPhone services offer the best technology for the agency because of Apple's tight controls of the hardware platform and operating system.

The agency said the iPhone will be used by a "variety of agency personnel, including, but not limited to, Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement and Removal Operations and Office of the Principal Legal Advisor employees.

"The iPhone services will allow these individuals to leverage reliable, mobile technology on a secure and manageable platform in furtherance of the agency's mission."

Last week, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton said it was dropping BlackBerry and switching to iPhone and Android smartphones for its staff of around 25,000.

Analysts said that other businesses and agencies are likely to follow suit especially in light of demand for other smartphones.   Continued...

 
A Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone handset is reflected in the logo of an Apple iPhone in this illustration picture taken in Lavigny, in this July 21, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud/Files