BlackBerries in Motion: Booz Allen’s Switch, Smarter-Government Next?

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The Google Inc. Android logo.

Booz Allen Hamilton employs 25,000.

They provide consulting services to the federal government, where the BlackBerry rules as the government-issued smart phone.

Booz Allen has dropped the Berry.

The consulting firm is leaving Research In Motion behind as it decommissions its BlackBerry server and moves its staff to Apple’s iPhones and other devices running Google’s Android operating system, as Bloomberg’s Hugo Miller reports.

If the McLean, Virginia-based consulting giant is abandoning its Berries, can the govermment be far behind?

Booz Allen advises the Army, Navy, Air Force and Department of Homeland Security. Its parent company Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp., last year had sales of $5.86 billion, the “vast majority” from government consulting, according to spokesman James Fisher.

Already, the General Services Administration, which procures more than $70 billion in products and services for other federal agencies each year, has allowed its eligible staff to ask for iPhones and Android devices — which come in handy at conventions. Stormy weather at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, too — it  plans to begin replacing the BlackBerrys it issues with iPhones.

RIM says it continues to work closely with more than 1 million government customers in North America alone. Scott Totzke, senior vice-president for BlackBerry security, said in April that sales to U.S. federal agencies are rising.

And the BlackBerry, he says, is still a fixture at the White House.

President Barack Obama even has a Berry.

Though Republican rival Mitt Romney uses an iPad — in church even.


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