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Monday, October 22, 2012, 12:32 pm PT (03:32 pm ET)

US immigration agency buying $2.1M worth of iPhones in switch from BlackBerry

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will leave Research in Motion's BlackBerry and buy $2.1 million worth of iPhones.

ICE revealed in a solicitation document last week that it will buy iPhones for more than 17,600 employees, according to Reuters. The memo said that RIM's BlackBerry platform could "no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency."

The agency looked into both the iPhone and devices running Google's Android platform. Officials at ICE determined that Apple's ecosystem best suited their needs because of tight controls over the hardware platform and its operating system.

While the switch is yet another feather in the cap for Apple's iOS platform, it's also a major blow for RIM, which was once the de facto choice for government employees. That's changed as RIM has seen its share of the smartphone market slip away to Apple and Android.

iOS Enterprise


RIM's losses in government have continued for some time, as one report last year dubbed the trend of switching from BlackBerry to iPhone as "federal government 2.0." One study published by the Government Business Council earlier this year revealed that managers using BlackBerry devices had dropped from 77 percent in August of 2009 to less than 50 percent in September of 2011.

For now, RIM is attempting to hold on until the release of its new BlackBerry 10 platform, currently scheduled to launch in early 2013. The company has seen a shakeup at its executive level, and announced in May that it would cut 40 percent of its workforce.