By Darrell Etherington
The U.S. Government will now be looking into solutions for provisioning iOS and Android devices in addition to those featuring RIM’s (RIMM) BlackBerry OS, according to a new report from Reuters. That means RIM will no longer have the exclusive contract for smartphone devices at the U.S. Defense Department, though it will remain another option.
A posting for the Defense Information Systems Agency is looking for companies to submit applications detailing how they can provide software to monitor and enforce strict security measures required for sensitive defense-related operations. The potential size of any arrangement with the Defense Department is huge -- it could span 8 million devices, all told. But the DOD doesn’t mean RIM is left out in the cold. In fact, BlackBerry’s Mobile Fusion cross-platform, mobile device management solution is among the software solutions that could theoretically meet the needs of the DOD.
RIM said in an interview with Reuters that it will be offering Fusion as a potential solution for consideration. And while other organizations like the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have announced they’ll switch entirely to iPhone, BlackBerry still probably won’t be kicked out of the Pentagon altogether, at least in the immediate future. So while this is a blow, it isn’t a knock-out punch quite yet.
Ultimately, we’ll see how the contract gets awarded sometime in April, according to Reuters. That may give RIM a chance to sway decision-makers with new BlackBerry 10 devices, but it’s also possible Apple (AAPL) or Android could sway the DOD with their large, mature app ecosystems, which is apparently a key criteria for the U.S. government body.