Further exemplifying RIM’s fall from grace, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is planning to drop support for Blackberry devices and exchange many of them for iPhones.
In an interview relayed first by Politoco, ATF chief information officer Rick Holgate said bluntly, “We’re going to delete the BlackBerry from the mix. The government has been very comfortable with the BlackBerry model for 10 years, Now we’re looking to move beyond that.”
Addressing the rationale behind the ATF’s shift towards Apple, Holgate said that the iPhone provides seamless video streaming, GPS functionality, and a more than serviceable camera.
“Yes, these things exist on BlackBerrys,” Holgate explained, “but in terms of ease of use and adaptability of the devices, the iPhones are the more functional and compelling use case.”
All told, approximately 3,800 BlackBerry devices will ultimately be given their walking papers with the ATF anticipating that approximately 2,400 iPhones will take their place in the hands of field agents. The remaining lot will presumably be filled by Android devices, though the ATF has not confirmed this..
March has been set as the target month to start replacing some 2,400 BlackBerrys assigned to special agents in the field with iPhones. ATF is currently prepping its mobile device infrastructure — scaling up licenses and installing a software upgrade for its mobile device management — before pulling the trigger on purchasing iPhones.
In addition to ease of use, Holgate cited infrastructure costs as another reason why the ATF was abandoning BlackBerry.
This is the second major federal agency to abandon rim in favor of the iPhone. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will reportedly also begin exchanging their fleet of 3,000 BlackBerrys with iPhones. The NOAA also has plans to supply their employees with iPads.
RIM’s ongoing descent into irellevance has been documented at length, and with large beaurcratic organizations that have long relied on RIM devices and services now jumping ship, things are clearly going to get worse before they get better – that is, assuming RIM is even capable of innovating out of their current predicament.