It seems that Blackberry could be in deep trouble, as the U.S. federal government and several of its defense agencies have been switching to iOS and Android-based devices. The report notes that things began to change at the pentagon when the U.S. Air Force placed a $9 million order for 18,000 iPads last March.
In December of 2012 The Washington Post found that the Defense Department tapped contractors to test iOS and Android for them. Last month a new report, this time from Bloomberg, claimed that Consolidated Analysis Center Incorporated had altered thousands of iPads to be used with the higher-ups in the Government. Including President Obama.
Finally, earlier today, the U.S. Defense Department confirmed (via Bloomberg) that they are working to adjust their networks to support 100,000 mobile devices from Apple and Google. The Pentegon’s largest supplier of smartphones is Blackberry, with 470,000 out of 600,000 devices being Blackberries. Currently, 41,000 Apple devices and 8,700 Android devices are in use in the military. Throw another 100,000 non-Blackberry devices in the mix, and you realize the floundering company has taken another nasty hit.
What I find so interesting about this story, is the level of care with which these devices are deployed. Personal iPads and similar products are not allowed on the Pentegon’s wireless network. The iPads are upgraded to military-grade security, and will not be allowed to download apps from the App Store. Instead, a contractor will be in charge of rolling out custom apps by early summer.
The post-PC world is here. Granted, Blackberry is trying to dig its way out, but when one of your major customers begins to shop elsewhere, it’s a bad sign. Even though it’s not a direct comparison, this strikes me as bad news for Microsoft as well. None of their Slate devices were mentioned, and the Pentagon is obviously moving away, to some degree, from traditional desktops.