Is Uncle Sam ditching the BlackBerry altogether? Yet another agency is permanently powering down on the once-dominant smartphone, according to Politico.
Politico reports that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives is dropping Research in Motion’s BlackBerry in favor of, you guessed it, Apple’s iPhone. The news site cited ATF’s chief information officer, Rick Holgate, who said the agency is going to “delete the BlackBerry from the mix.”
The move affects about 3,900 BlackBerrys in use by the ATF and the phase-out should take a year. There is another report that the agency responsible for tracking hurricanes, tornados and other weather phenomena, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is also phasing out its 3,000 BlackBerrys for the iPhone.
As the iPhone has gained market share, RIM’s BlackBerry has been plagued with problems in the past year.
Holgate said the iPhone was better when it came to “ease of use and adaptability” in video streaming, GPS capability and “a variety of things.”
Apple led in smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2011, and gained a 23.8 percent market share, according to researchers at Gartner, which expects Apple’s momentum to continue in the first quarter of this year. RIM dropped to the No. 7 spot, said Gartner, which added, “RIM’s delay with its BlackBerry 10 platform will further impair its ability to retain users.”
A BlackBerry spokeswoman told Politico that RIM “continues to work closely with its more than 1 million government customers in North America who rely on the unmatched security of the BlackBerry platform.”