Citing reliability issues, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has announced it may replace BlackBerry smartphones with Apple's iPhones, a move that could be a staggering blow to already struggling Research in Motion.
“The NTSB requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations,” the NTSB told the Wall Street Journal regarding its decision to possibly switch. The agency added that the use of iPhones would work well with the agency’s already-deployed Apple iPad tablets.
The NTSB’s decision to possibly change providers continues an apparent trend among some government agencies to shift from Blackberry’s to iPhones, including U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives which made the switch earlier this year.
In response to the NTSB announcement, the Canadian-based developer of the Blackberry said in a statement, “Government organizations globally have trusted the reliability and security of BlackBerry for over a decade. They can continue to do so . . . We have one million government customers in North America alone who depend on BlackBerry, and more than 400,000 government customers worldwide upgraded their devices in the past year.”
In addition to the NTSB announcement, RIM acknowledged late Tuesday that ShopBlackBerry.com, the company’s e-commerce website, remained offline “due to circumstances beyond our control.”
Refusing to elaborate on why the site was inactive, RIM said it was “working to restore functionality.”
Despite the negative news, RIM’s shares increased to double digits on Tuesday, the first time since June, due to positive predictions from market analysts regarding the company’s release of the Blackberry 10 in January of next year.
“Our team has been working tirelessly to bring our customers innovative features combined with a best in class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multimedia capabilities. All of this will be integrated into a user experience — the BlackBerry Flow — that is unlike any smartphone on the market today,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of Research in Motion.
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