ICE hangs up on RIM
RIM and its BlackBerry smartphone lost yet another U.S. government agency to Apple's iPhone. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to spend US$4.1 million on iPhones for 17,600 employees after using RIM's phones for eight years.
ICE officials said "[RIM] can no longer meet the mobile needs of the agency," according to Reuters. "The iPhone services will allow these individuals to leverage reliable, mobile technology on a secure and manageable platform in furtherance of the agency's mission."
Staff assigned to Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement and Removal Operations, and the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor will make the move to iPhone, as will employees assigned to other ICE divisions.
The agency decided to abandon RIM's BlackBerry platform in part because Apple's iPhone and iOS offered better services, and because of the tight integration between the hardware and operating system. ICE may have also concerned about the future of RIM since the company is quickly losing marketshare and is dealing with serious financial issues.
Paul Lucier, RIM's vice president of government solutions, stated,
Of course, we are disappointed by this decision. We are working hard to make our new mobile computing platform, BlackBerry 10, meets the future needs of government customers.
BlackBerry 10 may not, however, arrive soon enough to help the ailing company. RIM is hoping to release BlackBerry 10 in the first part of 2013, but customers have already started leaving and investing in Apple's iPhone and iOS platform. Once companies and government agencies finish their transition, they won't likely consider spending the money to move back to RIM. -- especially if they're concerned about RIM's future.