ATF Dumps Blackberry for iPhone

The U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has decided its time to leave RIM’s Blackberry smartphone behind and move on to Apple’s iPhone. The agency plans to start phasing out about 3,800 Blackberry devices over the next twelve months and replacing those with Apple’s popular smartphone.

“We’re going to delete the BlackBerry from the mix,” ATF CIO Rick Holgate, told Politico.

ATF: Goodbye Blackberry, Hello iPhoneATF: Goodbye Blackberry, Hello iPhone

About 60 percent of the Blackberrys that are scheduled to be phased out will get replaced with iPhones, the agency said. The remaining 40 percent will be a mix of other smartphone platforms.

2,400 Blackberrys that field agents use will get the axe starting in March after the ATF finishes a mobile device software upgrade. Those agents will all receive iPhones.

RIM’s popularity has been dipping as the iPhone and Android-based smartphones have worked their way into businesses and the lives of end users. The smartphone maker isn’t, however, giving up on the government market.

“[RIM] continues to work closely with its more than 1 million government customers in North America who rely on the unmatched security of the BlackBerry platform,” a company spokesperson said.

At least some of those government customers, it seems, won’t be turning to RIM for smartphones any more.