Another US federal agency dumps RIM: 17,600 BlackBerry smartphones to be replaced with Apple iPhones

BlackBerry smartphone manufacturer Research in Motion has suffered another major blow with yet another US federal government agency set to abandon the embattled platform.

Reuters reports the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has sent a memo to its 17,600 staff stating that, after eight years, the agency is switching from BlackBerry to Apple iPhone on the grounds RIM “can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency”.

The agency chose the iPhone over Android on the grounds that Apple can tightly control its ecosystem from the hardware up to key apps in a way Google can’t with Android.

The news marks a further erosion of RIM’s marketshare in its core enterprise and government market, following news last week that Australian retail giant Woolworths and US consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton are also switching their workforces to Apple or Android smartphones.

In March, SmartCompany reported the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in abandoning the platform.

Earlier this week, Research In Motion sent invitations to leading Canadian politicians promising that its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, now expected early next year, would be “the next generation mobile platform that will change everything”.

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