BlackBerry has now issued a statement confirming that its relationship is still on with the Department of Defense — for its sake hopefully closing the loop on the story that started with reports that the DoD would be dumping its deal with the troubled Canadian handset maker, once a mainstay of business users, who are now migrating to Apple and Android devices. BlackBerry says that its devices and services are in the so-called Security Requirement Guide approval state right now, as are others, and BlackBerry will be the first to come out of it.
BlackBerry says that it’s getting approval for BB10 devices, the PlayBook and the on-device enterprise services that it runs on these, with that expected to come in early April.
From a BlackBerry spokesperson:
Our work with the U.S. Department of Defense is going well and the U.S. Department of Defense is moving forward with testing of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 and the new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. We are currently working with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and anticipate Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIG) and Security Requirement Guide (SRG) approval for the BlackBerry Device Service, BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry PlayBook by early April. BlackBerry was the first to go through the new SRG process by the Defense Department and will be the first to successfully come out of it.
BlackBerry is in a critical position right now where each example of a key enterprise customer dumping the company’s devices is like another thorn in its side, or a straw on its back. The report that its position at the organization was getting replaced by some 650,000 Apple devices would have been a catalysing example of how far it had fallen from its incumbent position as the king of enterprise mobility.
Some believe that while BlackBerry are still making the list for approved devices, when it comes to user choice, many are opting for other devices like Android handsets and iPhones — an opportunity that companies like Samsung and Apple are now trying to seize.
The DoD had already denied the original report, but what BlackBerry is doing is spelling out that not only will the order include its new range of BB10 handsets but also its ailing tablets as well as its Device Service, putting on a brave face to fight the next battle of the smartphone war.