Feeds

US Immigration service won't drop BlackBerry after all

BlackBerry 10 pilot program could save RIM jobs

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

In a surprising about-face, US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced that it will test-drive Research in Motion's new BlackBerry 10 operating system in January, having earlier said that it planned to drop RIM's platform in favor of iOS.

The pilot program, which will include both RIM's new BlackBerry 10 handsets and the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 enterprise management system, will make ICE one of the first US government agencies to try out the new OS.

"ICE has been a valued BlackBerry customer for years, and our commitment to government agencies has influenced the development of the BlackBerry 10 platform," RIM senior VP Scott Totzke said in a canned statement on Thursday.

That puts it somewhat mildly. Government contracts have long been a core component of RIM's business, which is one reason why the company has worked so hard to meet federal security standards. In November, it announced that BlackBerry 10, too, had been certified good enough for government work.

But RIM has struggled to maintain its Washington accounts in recent months, with one US agency after another announcing plans to jump ship to a competing platform – usually Apple's.

The General Services Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Transportation Board, and the Pentagon are just a few of the US agencies whose once-unflinching loyalty to BlackBerry has lately wavered or collapsed.

For a while, ICE headed that list. In September, the agency announced that it had spent $2.1m on iPhones to replace its BlackBerry devices, claiming that its business requirements called for "more capable and dynamic mobile technology."

With the announcement of its BlackBerry 10 pilot program on Thursday, ICE now seems to be stepping away from that position somewhat, although a spokesperson said the agency's iPhone plans were still going forward.

"We're not backing away from iOS, nor RIM," ICE press secretary Barbara Gonzalez told Bloomberg. "We've had a long and good relationship with RIM."

For its part, RIM has said it isn't worried about government contracts and that federal sales on the whole are up, although it admits that "the employee base is shrinking" as agencies shed jobs.

Make no mistake, however: sweat was surely wiped from many a RIM investor's brow following ICE's announcement, as it's widely believed that as RIM's government contracts go, so will follow the enterprise. RIM's shares closed up 4 per cent on the news. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.