RIM frozen out of ICE contract, losing order for 17K handsets to Apple iPhone

RIM frozen out of ICE contract, losing order for 17K handsets to Apple iPhone
RIM is about to lose a big government contract. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) will end its contract with the Canadian based manufacturer of BlackBerry devices. As a result, 17,600 ICE employees will be using the Apple iPhone instead of a BlackBerry device. The order is worth $2.1 million to Apple. While ICE employees used BlackBerry for 8 years, the devices "can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency," said a statement released by ICE.

The agency said it also analyzed Apple's iOS operating system and Google's Android operating system and found that for now, iOS offers the best technology for ICE because of its tight control over both hardware and software. While Apple has a closed system, Android is an open source OS and Google has very little control over hardware made by OEMs outside of its wholly owned Motorola Mobility.

Recently, Yahoo's new CEO Marissa Mayer told employees to switch from using a BlackBerry at the office to either a new Apple iPhone or Android model at Yahoo's expense. Consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton is switching 25,000 employees from BlackBerry to the Apple iPhone. Ed Snyder, an analyst with Charter Equity Research says that this is going to continue happening. Companies are worried that RIM may not be around much longer and are afraid to commit to the company. While RIM once had an advantage with higher degrees of safety that corporate IT managers wanted, Apple's recent acquisition of AuthenTec and its support for Cisco's VPN have helped it become a threat to RIM. "Apple is really addressing security," Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu noted. In the first quarter of 2013, RIM is expected to introduce its new BlackBerry 10 models and the reception to those phones will determine if the company lives or dies.

source: Reuters

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