U.S. Department of Defense May be Getting Ready to Purchase 650,000 iOS Devices

By Joe Rizzo March 21, 2013

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) may have a very large pending order to swap out their BlackBerry devices. Some of this has to do with the federal sequester. The sequester is a term used to describe the practice of using mandatory spending cuts in the federal budget if the cost of running the government exceeds either an arbitrary amount or the gross revenue it brings during the fiscal year.

Currently, there are about 470,000 BlackBerry devices in daily use by the DoD. Unfortunately, none of which operate on BB10. This is because funds originally earmarked for the new OS have been eliminated by the sequester. The DoD estimates that there will be eight million smartphones in service over the next three years, and most of the devices that are used to handle classified data have been subjected to pricey modifications that increase their final cost up to four times.

According to reports, the current mobile testing program in progress at the DoD has produced a rather large purchase order for Apple devices. The 470,000 current BlackBerry devices would be replaced by over 650,000 Apple devices. This is a pending purchase order with nothing happening until the sequester is over.

An Electronista report marks the breakdown as 120,000 iPads, 100,000 iPad minis, 200,000 iPod touches and of course 210,000 various iPhone models. Ultimate destinations for the hardware varies, with Electronista being told that "more than half are headed to the battlefield, afloat, and to associated support commands.” The DoD was not specific about which models of each device would be used. We will have to wait until the sequester is over to find out that information.

The US government spent just short of $80 billion on information technology in 2012, and the sequester is seeing a larger bite taken out of IT funds than other segments of government spending.Planned hardware purchases have mostly been delayed, but they have not been cancelled. The sequester put BB10 testing on hold since the funds are no longer available. Unfortunately for BlackBerry and the government, the DoD cannot wait to resume testing, they need to make a decision right away and this hurts BlackBerry.

This is yet another blow to BlackBerry. Earlier this week we reported that the UK government found that the new BlackBerry software was not secure enough for essential work.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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