updated 05:39 pm EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
'Global' switchover will cost nothing extra over normal replacement cycle
Automaker Ford has announced that it will transition at least 9,300 corporate employees from BlackBerry models and flip phones to iPhones over the next two years. The change, which will cost the company nothing above the normal cost of a replacement cycle, is a blow to BlackBerry, but the Canadian smartphone maker can take solace in the fact that Ford chose BlackBerry's QNX for its next-generation Sync infotainment system, replacing a previous Microsoft-based one.
"While we can't comment on this customer, we understand that there is diversity and choice in the market," said BlackBerry spokesman Adam Emery in a statement sent to Bloomberg. He added that "enterprises should think twice about relying on any solution built on the foundation of a consumer technology that lacks the proven security benefits that BlackBerry has always delivered." Ford plans to issue 3,300 iPhones immediately, with another 6,000 being deployed by 2016.
"We are going to get everyone on iPhones," said Ford spokesperson Sara Tatchio, though it is unclear how many of Ford's 181,000 worldwide employees will eventually receive Apple's smartphone. "It meets the overall needs of the employees because it is able to serve both our business needs in a secure way and the needs we have in our personal lives with a single device."
She added that having all employees on the same platform of smartphone will "improve security and simplify information technology management," according to the report. The automaker is in the process of hiring a mobile technology analysts who's main job will be to oversee the "global deployment of corporate iPhones," according to its online job posting.