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Ford ditches BlackBerry for Apple, will deploy 9,300 iPhones among employees

Apple can now count the Ford Motor Co. among those who are embracing its iOS platform, as the automaker has revealed it will equip more than 9,000 workers with iPhones over the next two years.

A spokeswoman for the company told Bloomberg that Ford will replace 3,300 workers' BlackBerry phones with iPhones by the end of this year. And over the next two years, 6,000 employees will see their "feature" flip phones upgraded to Apple's best selling handset as well.

Ford representative Sara Tatchio said the company plans to get "everyone on iPhones," citing advantages in security and simplicity.

"It meets the overall needs of the employees because it is able to serve both our business needs and a secure way and the needs we have in our personal lives with a single device," she said.

Ford's announcement comes on the heels of a new partnership between Apple and IBM, in which Big Blue will provide customized services, support and applications for Apple's iPhone and iPad. Apple is hoping the partnership will allow it to capture an even greater share of the enterprise market.

Apple routinely touts the fact that almost all Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying iOS devices. But the company also recently revealed that penetration rates among employees in those companies are extremely low.

As of 2013, Ford had about 181,000 total employees, so the more than 9,000 iPhones the company plans to distribute won't put a huge dent in its workforce. But it is another high-profile example of Apple capturing on the decline of former enterprise king BlackBerry.

Those losses are also occurring in the public sector, as the U.S. Air Force announced earlier this year that it would deploy 5,000 Apple iOS devices to replace BlackBerry devices. The Air Force is planning the eventual retirement of all BlackBerry products carried by USAF personnel.