BlackBerry Loses Another Big Customer to Apple


BlackBerry has received the technological boot from Home Depot. The company will no longer be utilizing BlackBerry OS, which is going to be replaced with Apple's iOS. Store managers and all corporate-level employees have already begun the process of switching over to the iPhone 4S. Across the company, this opportunity is worth around 10,000 phones for Apple. This is yet another blow against BlackBerry, which is currently in the process of launching BlackBerry 10, a more modernized ecosystem aimed at more effectively competing against the likes of iOS and Google Android. Apparently, business must go on with or without BlackBerry on board.

Bad beats
This isn't the first time BlackBerry has lost a high-profile customer to Apple. Back in November, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board announced plans to move 400 users to Apple's iPhone 5, citing that BlackBerrys have been failing at an unacceptable rate. In September 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ditched over 17,600 BlackBerry devices for iPhones because BlackBerry no longer met the mobile technology needs of the agency. Last May, the Transportation Security Administration announced a plan to spend $3 million on Apple products, rather than buy more BlackBerry and Microsoft products.

Perhaps the biggest kahuna of them all was when the Defense Department Information Systems Agency took BlackBerry off its planned mobile device purchases, which at first involves over 162,000 devices (including the iPhone) and has the potential to grow to 8 million devices. At the expense of BlackBerry, Apple has been slowly but surely making serious inroads in the enterprise space.

Tried and true
Enterprises are like glaciers in the sense that they're very slow moving when it comes to implementing new technologies. Before a new technology gets implemented, it first needs to prove its worth in the marketplace with evidence of widespread adoption. During Apple's most recent conference call, CEO Tim Cook announced that "well over" half a billion iOS devices have been sold. This large saturation gives enterprises the confidence that the iOS ecosystem will continue to be supported for the years ahead. As a technology investment, there's a higher degree of risk and uncertainty surrounding deploying a new BlackBerry 10 outfit. In this context, it's probably going to take years for enterprises to regain confidence in BlackBerry's future.

Apple halo effect?
According to Tim Cook, Apple has a great ability to create a haloeffect around its products, which ultimately leads to further Apple purchases in the future. In the enterprise space, I'm left wondering if Apple will experience the same halo effect, where companies like Home Depot start with an iPhone deployment, leading to subsequent iPad purchases and perhaps even some Mac sales. In terms of BlackBerry, it's likely that this development would cause the company to have continued difficulty finding traction in the enterprise segment.

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Fool contributor Steve Heller owns shares of Apple and Google. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google, and Home Depot. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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