updated 05:05 pm EST, Thu March 7, 2013
Sources close to budget reveal $5 million savings with cancellation
With the US government sequester underway, many if not all, federal divisions are seeing budget reductions -- with the Department of Defense (DoD) seeing a mandatory 11 percent cut. Electronista has learned that the DoD testing program previously announced at the end of February will continue with Android and iOS devices, leaving BlackBerry 10 devices mostly out in the cold. The change in plan, and the near-complete cessation of the BlackBerry 10 testing is said to save the DoD millions in procurement and personnel costs.
High-level discussions about the mandatory budget cuts found the program "easy to cut" and "low-hanging fruit" according to our sources. The program is not necessarily completely stopped, as there are a "small handful" of the devices and a test server already in operation in a secure facility, but the budget to obtain more than a few of the handsets will likely be cut before large scale procurement can take place.
"We're almost done with the iOS and Android platform testing procedure, so that's fine," our source told us. "BlackBerry is going to have to suck it up and not get properly tested for a while. Maybe never."
Other shifts in information technology expenditures by the DoD are expected to be a lessening of new equipment purchases across the board, and a move towards service and support of existing devices. Statistics gathered from devices deployed by the DoD show 470,000 BlackBerry devices in daily use, none of which use the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. These devices are expected to be incompatible with any new program. Testing of the new operating system will be gravely impacted by the sequester, and the outright elimination of funds earmarked for the BlackBerry 10 platform may never be restored.
Overall impact on commercial information technology as a result of the sequester depends on the sector. Most departments are taking the DoD's route and paring back new equipment purchases. Dell and Google are expected to see an uptick in service sales, with hardware and networking purveyors like Apple, Cisco, Panasonic, and others seeing reductions, if not outright cancellations of standing orders. The US government spent just short of $80 billion on information technology in 2012.