Blackberry, despite some noble efforts, has found itself unable to pull out of its tailspin, and has been undergoing a long process of deciding what to do with the company, reportedly rejecting offers to sell its assets last month and recently the expected Fairfax buyout falling through. In light of all this, the Department of Defense is now setting up what amounts to contingency plans in the event that Blackberry fizzles away.
The United States government has been a big customer of Blackberry for a long time, and presently about 470,000 of its smartphones are in use by various personnel. Apple and Android have both gained a foothold in the government industry in recent months, but still don’t have the special “authority to operate” on the Defense Department’s networks, giving Blackberry the upper hand.
The business relationship remained this past summer despite Blackberry making known plans to drastically reduce its output. Through this, the Pentagon continued working to enable Blackberry 10 handsets to work on its networks, and had plans to buy tens of thousands of the phones. Things have gotten rockier for Blackberry, however, especially in recent weeks as the company fired its CEO and the planned buyout fell through.
The Defense Department still relies on Blackberry substantially right now, and this presents a problem — if Blackberry goes completely away, there needs to be a contingency in place for the government to fill that gap. One official pointed out that last year, as the Pentagon began shifting workers to tablets and smartphones from PCs, it didn’t dedicate focus on any single device maker.
“This multi-vendor, device-agnostic approach minimizes the impact of [a] single vendor to our current operations.” By the time 2016 rolls around, the DD anticipates having 300,000 approved devices issued to personnel on a mobile device management system that tracks smartphones and tablets to keep the computer systems safe.