Is RIM's relationship with the U.S. government really as strong as the company says? Probably not.
2012 hasn’t been shaping up to be a good year for RIM. The company has already lost some major enterprise customers, developers have publicly announced they’re shuttering BlackBerry support, and the new iPad sales beat the total number of BlackBerry PlayBook shipments three times over in one weekend.
The one bright moment, if you can call it that, came during the company’s recent quarterly financials call when RIM’s newly minted CEO Thorsten Heins told investors that his first action on the job was to seriously evaluate RIM’s business. After months of delusional pep talks, his very sober assessment was like a burst of lucid thinking. Unfortunately, the company’s executives seem to be covering that lucid moment with more of the delusional spin that’s become typical of RIM
The latest bout of RIM denying its situation involve comments by executives on the state of the BlackBerry in government.
The VA cancels Microsoft contract, which could mean widespread use of iOS to follow
While many federal agencies have been defecting from RIM’s BlackBerry to iOS devices, the Department of Veterans Affairs seems poised to make a much more dramatic transition. The agency recently canceled its participation in Microsoft’s Software Assurance program. While the move isn’t likely to mean the VA is replacing all of its PCs with Macs, it may signal a significant transition to non-Microsoft mobile devices like the iPad.
Britain's government could soon be run on iPads. Photo by hozinja (CC BY 2.0)
Over in rainy Britain, members of parliament (MPs) might have something to smile about. The Commons Administration Committee has recommended that they all be given iPads and cellular data plans. This would cost a relatively small amount, around £260,000 ($415,000) plus data plans.
It’s rare to see government agencies at the front of the technology curve, but it’s becoming more common with U.S. federal agencies after U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel declared at CES that 2012 the year of mobile for the federal government. While most agencies have pushed to reevaluate their mobile technology option during the past few months, the Environmental Protection Agency seems to leading the government charge to mobile.
The EPA announced earlier this week that the agency has adopted a new “mobile first” policy. Under the policy, it is a setting forward-thinking IT mandate than even the most tech-savvy companies have yet to consider or embrace: develop solutions for mobile devices first and then re-work those solutions to function on the desktop.
Despite RIM’s reassurances to developers at this week’s Mobile World Congress, the mass exodus of its government customers continued as another U.S. federal agency announced that it would ditch BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone. The agency in question is The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which announced that it will be abandoning the BlackBerry and RIM services beginning this month.
As the agency revealed its plans, RIM attempted to cast a softer light on the situation by playing up it’s overall standing with the U.S. government.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that energy giant Haliburton is was going to begin a transition that will replace all corporate BlackBerry devices with iPhones.
RIM got more bad news today in the form of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announcing that the federal agency will also be dropping the BlackBerry platform in favor of the iPhone.
The U.S. government declared the act of jailbreaking legal on July 26, 2010, encouraging hundreds of thousands of iOS users into hacking their devices, safe in the knowledge that their actions would incur no legal repercussions. The ruling certainly had a huge on the jailbreaking community, but the tables could be set to turn once again.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), jailbreaking could become illegal again this year, but you can do your bit to prevent it.
Apple’s carrier partners in Singapore are removing the front- and rear-facing cameras from the Cupertino company’s latest iPhone 4S before selling it, according to a new report. The doctored devices are aimed at members of the military who are prohibited from taking cameras into their bases.
You think your users are hard to please? Try cops, says Travis Taniguchi.
He’s a police criminologist for the Redlands Police Department in California, and one of the driving forces behind an iPhone and iPad app-friendly police department. Cops are not only skeptical, but armed.
“You want to talk hostile customers or end users? You don’t get more hostile than a cop,” Taniguchi joked.”They do that lean back thing, then they put a hand on their gun. It’s not easy.”
As the only “suit” on an Appnation Enterprise Summit panel about upstarts – he was gently ribbed by other panelists about not following the casual jeans-and-blazer mandate – he gave some interesting insights about how police departments can implement mobile apps.