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DoD not buying BlackBerrys

Jan. 27, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
355th Communication Squadron Client Service Center
DISA will not buying 80,000 BlackBerrys, despite what you might have read elsewhere. (SrA Brittany Dowdle)

When the Defense Information Systems Agency announced earlier this month plans to roll out software for managing the Pentagon’s mobile devices, the news went wide.

Reports surfaced that the Pentagon would be supporting 80,000 new BlackBerry devices on its mobile device management platform. The news helped boost BlackBerry stock from about $9 per share to nearly $11 per share in less than a week, according to The Verge. Many news outlets thought the Pentagon was ordering 80,000 new devices. (See this C|Net report, for example.)

The truth is “absolutely no new orders have been placed for new BB devices,” the Defense Department told The Verge. “The DISA press release put out Jan. 16 never alluded to any devices being purchased. The 80,000 BBs and 1,800 non-BB devices referenced in the release are legacy systems already in DoD inventories.”

In fact, DoD’s BlackBerry devices are supported by a separate Blackberry Enterprise Server and will not be supported by the new MDM solution.

Our earlier report made clear that DISA has not specified how many devices will be supported on the new MDM when it rolls out Jan. 31. By year’s end, the solution is expected to support 100,000 devices, according to DISA.

“Right now, [DISA] will be deploying Android and iOS devices with this solution, but it can support other devices, which DoD will have to approve to be used,” Kathleen Urbine, senior vice president of DMI’s Enterprise Solutions Group, said in a previous interview. “You have the Samsung with the Knox solution. You have Windows mobile 8 devices. These are devices of the future that if DoD chooses, can be supported.”

DMI is providing the device management solution under a $16 million contract.

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