Feeds

US Immigration service won't drop BlackBerry after all

BlackBerry 10 pilot program could save RIM jobs

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.