November 21, 2012
NTSB Leaves RIM’s Blackberry For Apple
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
BlackBerry 10, RIM´s last shot at turning around their company and becoming a viable competitor once more, may arrive too late. It´s already been pushed back several times. Had RIM been able to release this year when it originally expected, perhaps they could have stopped some of the hemorrhaging that´s taken place. Not only have consumers all but written off the large, QWERTY-fronted smartphone, but the company´s two largest supporters, the corporate and government sectors, have been peeling off one-by-one, opting to let their employees bring their own phones to the job or choose another phone entirely. And more often than not, that phone is Apple´s iPhone.Now, following the lead of several other American government agencies, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said they´re ready to switch from RIM´s BlackBerry to Apple´s iPhone, saying the BlackBerry phones they´ve been using have become much less reliable.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, an NTSB representative has said the BlackBerry phones “have been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate.” The NTSB further explains their decision to switch, saying: “The NTSB requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations.”
Apple already has a foot in the door with the NTSB as these agents are already accustomed to using iPads on the job. These Apple tablets would play very nicely with Apple´s smartphones, says the NTSB.
Despite their ever-mounting challenges, RIM continues to march onward, planning to release a new phone alongside BB10 early next year. In response to the NTSB´s decision to walk away from BlackBerry, RIM said governments still love BlackBerry.
“Government organizations globally have trusted the reliability and security of BlackBerry for over a decade. They can continue to do so,” said RIM in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. “We have one million government customers in North America alone who depend on BlackBerry, and more than 400,000 government customers worldwide upgraded their devices in the past year.”
In terms of reliability, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins seems to believe these government agencies are using old gear, thus making them more susceptible to failure. In a previous interview with Bloomberg, Heins said: “Many of these devices sit on BlackBerry 5 or BlackBerry 6, not even on BlackBerry 7, so the experience is not what I know and what other BlackBerry users know in the consumer domain,” he said. “It is a three-, four-year-old experience.”
Earlier this month, RIM announced that BlackBerry 10 (BB10) will be more secure than ever, a feature which is of extreme importance to government agencies. BB10 is said to come “out-of-the-box” meeting the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS).
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has also left RIM, saying the iPhone was a more secure choice for their agency. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have also made the switch to Apple, likely growing tired of waiting for RIM to release what may or may not solve all their problems, BB10.
RIM continues to march onward, touting BB10 as their most secure operating system yet. What´s left to be seen now is what government agencies, American or otherwise, will be left to take advantage of it.