Friday, April 4, 2014

BlackBerry Receives Full Capability for U.S. Defense Department

BlackBerry Limited has announced that BlackBerry 10 has become the first mobile service to receive a designation of Full Operational Capability (FOC) to run on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) networks from the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency. The designation follows the company’s Authority to Operate (ATO) certification and enables government users with a BlackBerry 10 smartphone connected with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 to securely access email, data, apps and other DoD network resources. BlackBerry was the first mobile device management provider to earn ATO status and becomes the only vendor with FOC. The granting of FOC completes BlackBerry’s security certification process with the DoD.

This designation from the U.S. Department of Defense is very welcome news for BlackBerry, a company that has seen its sales plummet in the face of competition from Android, iOS and other mobile systems and services. In the consumer market, the situation is particularly dire; in the third quarter of 2013, BlackBerry’s consumer market share in the U.S. fell to 0.8 percent. In China, Japan and Spain, its share was less than one tenth of a percent—effectively zero. BlackBerry’s proprietary secure server formerly helped it gain traction in the business sector, but even there, competitors’ evolving functionalities and the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) have badly damaged its position. The one area in which BlackBerry’s security features are still an unalloyed selling point is the military and intelligence community. The U.S. DoD’s granting of this unique distinction to BlackBerry cannot by itself turn the company around, but it does represent a way forward, especially if more such contracts can be obtained. Samsung has recently been pressing for a share of U.S. military business and won contracts from the U.S. Army and National Security Agency, but with this latest development, BlackBerry has fended off its challenge.

The above item appeared in a recent issue of The Tarifica Alert, a weekly resource that analyzes noteworthy developments in the telecoms industry from around the world.

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