RIM Loses Another BlackBerry Government Contract Over Reliability

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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National Transport Safety Board switches to more ‘reliable’ iPhone 5

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has become the latest US government agency to end its exclusive use of BlackBerry smartphones.

The NTSB, which investigates transportation accidents in the US, said that its BlackBerrys have been “failing both at inappropriate times and at an unacceptable rate,” and that it was going to supply its 400 strong workforce with iPhone 5s instead, citing a need for “effective, reliable and stable communication.”

It is not clear which BlackBerry devices the NTSB are currently using, but it is believed that they are running BlackBerry 5 and 6 rather than the latest version, BlackBerry 7.

BlackBerry government contract lost

The NTSB’s accusations of unreliability are the most damaging to RIM, especially when it is trying to convince businesses of the security and administration strengths of its upcoming smartphones running BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry has suffered two major international service disruptions in the last 15 months, including a crippling worldwide outage last October.

BlackBerrys have long been favoured by government agencies as they meet their strict security requirements, but this advantage has become less pronounced as security standards have improved in rival platforms and BlackBerrys have become increasingly undesirable to consumers and businesses.

The US Department of Defense has invited companies to submit bids to provide software that can monitor, manage and enforce security requirements for iPhones and Android smartphones, while the US Immigration and Customers Enforcement Agency (ICE) is going to end its contract with RIM and supply its 17,600 employees with iPhones.

Earlier this year, the General Services Administration (GSA), the US government’s main procurement agency, announced its decision to provide iPhones and Android devices to its employees.

BlackBerry 10 is due to be launched on 30 January next year, with RIM telling TechWeekEurope that its administration tools don’t exist on any other platform.

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