The U.S. military is ending its exclusive reliance on Research in Motion‘s (NASDAQ:RIMM) Blackberry mobile devices. Last week, the Defense Department opened bidding for security software to support Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and smartphones running Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system, Reuters noted.
Nor is the Pentagon the only U.S. government agency opting to ditch its exclusive relationship with RIM. Last week, the U.S. Immigration and Customer Enforcement Agency replaced its Blackberries with iPhones.
While the military is preparing to include iPhones and Android smartphones in its service, it won’t be dumping Blackberry completely. Defense Department officials said the military would continue to support Blackberry devices for the foreseeable future.
The Pentagon has been a reliable customer for RIM for years, preferring Blackberry devices over competing products due to security concerns. However, rival devices have increased their security and many officials are looking for products with bigger touchscreens.
Proposals are being requested for a one-year contract on software that can manage a minimum of 162,500 mobile devices. However, that will eventually be expanded to protect eight million smartphones and tablets.
Despite the bad news from the U.S. government, RIM shares jumped about 9% on word that its much-anticipated, but long-delayed Blackberry 10 phone has entered wireless carrier network testing.