The good news for Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is it remains the smartphone of choice for security-conscious government and corporate employers. The not-so-good news for BlackBerry shareholders is its stranglehold on the commercial market is loosening. Along with the growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to work trend, Samsung has recently been given the ultimate smartphone security stamp of approval, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is close to earning the same.
The latest rumors
According to a recent New York Times report, the Department of Defense, or DoD, is close — within a couple of weeks kind of close — to giving the thumbs-up for its employees to use Apple iPhones in the Pentagon and other security-conscious government agencies. Initially, opening the doors to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung smartphones by the DoD shouldn’t have a major impact on Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY); it’s entrenched, largely because of its strong, legacy OS security features.
It’s the staunch security requirements of the U.S. government, especially intelligence and defense department agencies, where the real opportunity for Apple and Samsung exist. There are repercussions of gaining the blessing of the U.S. government that will ripple through the corporate world, as well, changing the market Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) once dominated.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will learn if its iOS 6 makes the DoD (along with other government departments) grade in “early May,” according to the NY Times report. Apple is expected to have a relatively easy time passing muster because, unlike Samsung phones running the open source Google Android OS, iOS 6 is a proprietary system, meaning that it’s easier to secure, similar to Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s legacy OS. As far as BlackBerry’s new BB10 OS, not surprisingly, that has also gained DoD approval recently.
Why it matters
If there isn’t a mass government employee exodus from BlackBerry devices to iPhones or Galaxy phones after gaining U.S. security approval, what’s the big deal? BYOD is the big deal. Using personal smartphones to increase worker’s productivity isn’t new; big and small companies alike are exploring the concept. But here’s where things really get interesting for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) — according to a recent Gartner study, 50% of employers will require their employees to furnish their own smartphone devices. Not just ask … but require them to. The possibilities for Apple (and Samsung) in the workplace suddenly grow exponentially.
Now, add in a stamp of approval from some of the most security-conscious folks in the world, and both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung immediately address the overriding concern of the corporate mobile device market — keeping data secure. If iOS 6 gets the thumbs-up from the DoD, that’ll certainly be good enough for the corporate world. BlackBerry is the ideal example of how powerful a government security endorsement can be; it’s a large part of the reason BlackBerry is seen as the commercial smartphone.