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Australia's Treasury Department switches from BlackBerry to iPhone

In yet another blow to BlackBerry, the Australian Treasury Department has opted to switch away from the platform in favor of Apple's iPhone and iOS, with the transition expected to be completed within the next month and a half.

The Treasury will replace 250 BlackBerry devices with new iPhone 5s, reports ZDNet Australia, and is also planning to roll out an as-yet-undisclosed number of iPads to staff, ministers' offices and other agencies run by the department.

According to chief information officer Peter Alexander, the decision to switch came after the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia's signals intelligence agency, certified Apple's iOS for government applications. Alexander said the new devices would be controlled by device management platform AirWatch.

When asked about BlackBerry's announcement of BB10 and two new handsets, the Z10 and Q10, Alexander was unsure if the company would be able to make a comeback.

"BlackBerry has pretty limited capability," he said. "With the new one being launched, it's almost too late. Maybe it'll catch up, maybe it won't."

As for Android, the DSD has yet to certify a single device running Google's mobile operating system.

"In the coldest and cruelest way to look at it, there was no decision for us, really," Alexander said. "We looked at it in terms of usability and functionality, Android phones are perfectly adequate […] but it was really a decision we didn't have much option in."

The Australian Treasury Department is the latest government body to make the leap to iOS. In Apple's quarterly conference call for the first quarter of 2013, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said a number of U.S. agencies are issuing iPhones "by the thousands," including NASA, NOAA, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and the Transportation and Security Administration.