The federal government, State Department, Army, NASA and the Department of Veterans Affairs are all in the process of (slowly) replacing aging BlackBerries with devices powered by Apple’s iOS.
“This is not a movie. This is not a Steve Jobs dream,” confirmed Michael S. Rosenwald of the WaPost.
“This is the federal government 2.0, where technology upgrades no longer come at a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ pace. Even President Obama, a BlackBerry devotee, has upgraded. He now owns an iPad, and it has been seen on his desk and under his arm.”
Tim Hoechst, chief technology officer at Agilex Technologies, which is helping federal agencies integrate Apple products into workforces, concurred.
“The demand we are seeing now in the last 90 days has been just extraordinary,” he said.
Vivek Kundra, the federal government’s chief information officer, attributed the paradigm shift to the powerful capabilities offered by newer and more versatile Apple devices.
“People have better access to information technology at their homes than they do at work, and that’s especially true in the public sector,” explained Kundra.
“If you look at the average school kid, he or she probably has better technology in his or her backpack than most of us do in government offices… [And] the line between work and home in terms of technology is beginning to blur.”
So, did RIM drop the BlackBerry ball?
Well, analysts like Charlie Wolf of Needham & Co believe RIM over-focused on its secure e-mail service instead of building a flexible app platform for users and devs alike.
“The best way I can describe BlackBerry is as a one-trick pony,” said Wolf.
“The one trick was their secure messaging platform. Management has yet to understand that the world has changed. They [just simply] didn’t understand that it was a software game going forward.”