updated 04:15 pm EST, Tue February 14, 2012
GSA now open to Apple devices in rollouts
A series of US government switches to iPhones has culminated in the General Services Administration starting to allow agencies to hand out iOS and Android devices to workers in addition to BlackBerrys. If a government body like the Department of Justice needs a given app or feature, it can now treat hardware using the Apple or Google platform as an equal. When relevant, workers can pick their own device from an approved list, although they won't get a bring-your-own-device option.
The newfound openness follows individual agencies like the NOAA going cross-platform. Privately, major companies like Halliburton have also made full-scale conversions to iOS. The steps have shown later versions of iOS being suitable enough for high-security uses that agencies and corporations now don't consider it a barrier.
For RIM, the GSA measure is potentially one of its worst scenarios. It has always considered its enterprise and government customers its safest BlackBerry customers, but these too are now vulnerable. Most of its share losses have come from home users switching away, but developments just from the past few weeks could erode share further.
RIM only just recently got BlackBerry 7 approval for the US government and accordingly has had little effect with its latest devices in stemming the impact of Android and iOS users.