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Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Research In Motion Ltd. was dealt another setback as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it would supply employees with iPhones, the latest organization to drop the BlackBerry.
The agency, which leads research into weather, oceans and fisheries, will use BlackBerrys until May, and then introduce Apple Inc. iPhones and iPads, Joe Klimavicz, NOAA’s chief information officer, said today in an interview. The Washington- based agency has about 3,000 BlackBerrys issued among its 13,000 full-time employees and 7,000 contractors, he said, adding that it’s too soon to say how many iPhones and iPads will be used.
Klimavicz said iPhones could be securely integrated into the agency’s information systems for cheaper than the current BlackBerry server that NOAA pays for.
“Times are changing and technology is changing and we have to look at our technologies and see how we can do things more efficiently,” he said.
The shift comes days after Halliburton Co., the world’s second-largest oilfield-services provider, said it will phase out 4,500 BlackBerrys and switch to the iPhone because the Apple device does a better job of supporting internal company applications. RIM’s share of the global smartphone market slid to 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 14 percent a year earlier, while Apple’s share rose to 24 percent from 16 percent in the same period, according to research firm IDC.
Marisa Conway, a spokeswoman for Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
While banks and other companies including Standard Chartered Plc have already begun making the switch, government agencies have been slower to seek alternatives to BlackBerry. The Pentagon will continue to issue only BlackBerrys while it studies the feasibility of introducing iPhones, iPads or devices built on Google Inc.’s Android platform, Teri Takai, the department’s chief information officer, said in a December interview.
NOAA’s decision was reported earlier today by the Loop.
--Editors: James Callan, John Lear
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