Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pentagon mulls other options with Android, iPhone in another blow to RIM

Another blow to the future of RIM, as following up on an earlier story in which the BlackBerry maker lost a major federal contract with ICE, it was reported on Sunday that it's losing another customer: the Department of Defense.

According to the report, the DOD plans to hire a contractor to build a system that will manage and secure at least 162,500 Android devices and Apple devices, such as the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy S III. The report cited a document posted online on Oct. 22.

Worse for RIM, the 162,500 figure is just for the initial roll-out of the system. The system may be expanded to handle up to 8 million devices, the document said. The document added that the project is "a significant step towards delivering a secure mobile communications capability" for the entire agency.

That statement has to be a serious blow to RIM, which at one time was seen as the premier mobile - and secure - messaging solution, across the world. The company, however, did not react quickly enough to the threat of the iPhone and Android, and now awaited a delayed BlackBerry 10 OS to restore its fortunes, if that is at all possible.

The Pentagon wants to allow its employees to access its network with a range of mobile devices, enabling the agency to “take advantage of the increasing wireless capabilities that exist and that are developing in the marketplace,” according to the document. If you think that sounds like the rumblings around BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), which is something corporations are beginning to embrace, you'd be right.

Although the DOD is not requiring that contractors propose systems that can manage RIM devices, the document did say that the agency “desires” a system that can also handle BlackBerrys. It's unclear how that could happen, although in April RIM released BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, software that allows organizations manage iPhones and Android devices alongside BlackBerrys on their networks.


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