The Pentagon is getting friendlier with iOS and Android devices, and plans to open up their networks to 100,000 such devices this year – which serves as a swift slap in the face to BlackBerry, who used to OWN the enterprise and government device market. The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed the news in a statement released earlier today. The news confirms previous reports suggesting a move away from BlackBerry within the department.
The move may pose a threat to BlackBerry (BBRY)’s dominance at the Pentagon, which has more than 450,000 of the company’s devices. BlackBerry has lost market share to competitors and seeks to make a comeback with its new BlackBerry 10 phone. The device will go on sale in the U.S. next month.
Android and iOS devices are becoming increasingly popular with government agencies and large corporations. In particular, iOS devices have seen a massive increase in attention from all manner of corporations – from Halliburton to Home Depot. iOS devices now account for well over half of all devices in enterprise use. The Pentagon becomes the latest in a string of U.S. agencies (including the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to make the move away from BlackBerry products in favor of iOS devices.
The department plans to create a specialized app store for military-purpose apps, and hire a contractor to build an infrastructure for distributing those apps among government employees. While BlackBerry still holds the dominant share of devices for the Pentagon (of 600,000 total devices, only 100,000 are Android and iOS-based), but this is likely to be the first of many moves which could change BlackBerry’s place in all that.