updated 02:25 pm EST, Mon February 6, 2012
Halliburton defects from BlackBerry to iOS
RIM has taken one of its largest, more conspicuous blows as a leaked e-mail and subsequent confirmation have revealed on Monday that Halliburton is switching from the BlackBerry to the iPhone. After "significant research," according to an AppleInsider copy of the memo, the controversial energy giant has told staff that it will transition from the BlackBerry to the iPhone, described at first as a one-year transition but now described as two. Apple's platform had superior features, controls, and app development security, Halliburton said.
The switch would be a uniform one and wouldn't lead to a mixed environment with support for Android or others. The homogeneity was needed to "better support" mobile app efforts at Halliburton, a spokeswoman said. Staff and customers could get to the company's internally developed apps through a secure link.
Apple was "engaged" in the project, the spokeswoman added.
For RIM, the switch is a very damaging one. Most companies allowing iPhone adoption have done so in mixed environments where the BlackBerry stays. Halliburton would be giving up all of the 4,500 BlackBerry smartphones on its network, depriving RIM of a high-profile corporate customer.
The step would also represent a watershed moment for Apple's acceptance in the enterprise. It has mostly refused to compromise iOS or the Mac for the sake of the enterprise, but the additions it has made have been increasingly accepted to the point where nearly all the Fortune 500 is either actively using or testing iPhones and iPads.
RIM had once considered its corporate base unassailable by Apple or others due to its unique end-to-end data encryption. A poor app market, slow hardware updates, and a nearly four-day outage may have soured companies who were faced with having to give up numerous features of more advanced modern just for the sake of messaging. An answer might come in the form of BlackBerry 10 devices late this year, but it might not come in time for some.