Another US agency drops BlackBerrys in favour of iPhones

By Danny Palmer
21 Nov 2012 View Comments
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Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry is being dropped in favour of the Apple iPhone by yet another US government agency, with reliability being cited as the key reason.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a body that investigates aircraft accidents, has announced its decision just one month after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed plans to provide staff with iPhones instead of BlackBerrys.

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"These Apple devices will replace the NTSB's existing BlackBerry devices, which have been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate," said a document from the 400 employee strong agency.

"The NTSB requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations."

The agency already uses Apple iPads to perform some tasks and, as the document explains, this will make the switch to Apple smartphones relatively simple.

"The iPhone 5 has been determined to be the only device that meets the dual requirement of availability from the existing wireless vendor and is currently supportable by existing staff resources," said the justification document from the NTSB.

Being dropped by another government agency is the latest in a series of setbacks for RIM. Earlier this year, the company made 5,000 staff redundant in an attempt to cut costs, but still suffered another loss-making quarter in its latest financial report.

However, RIM remains optimistic that the much-delayed BlackBerry 10, scheduled for launch on 30 January, will help turn its fortunes around. The company recently told Computing that the upcoming smartphone has been built with consumerisation of IT in mind and represents the answer to BYOD.

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