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Pentagon Approval of iOS and Samsung KNOX Is Bad News for BlackBerry

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the slicing-up-that-sweet-taxpayer-pie dept.

Blackberry 49

rjupstate writes "The Pentagon is quickly moving to approve the latest devices and platforms from BlackBerry, Samsung, and Apple. That's good news for two of those companies. It's not-so-good news for BlackBerry. 'The Pentagon currently has about 600,000 smartphone users – almost all using BlackBerrys – but ultimately aims to have as many as 8m smartphones and tablets, under the terms of a scheme made public last November.' 'In its effort to expand into the high security government niche, one that BlackBerry has enjoyed near singular control of for years, Samsung recently created a government advisory board made up of Samsung executives and security experts from various U.S. and foreign government security agencies. ... In the end, the program will likely elevate that status of both Apple and Samsung within military and civilian government agencies in the U.S. and other western countries.'"

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49 comments

Launch the FUD missles.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43623227)

Sounds like Samsung and Apple are moving to a equal footing. Doubt this will hurt an installed user base of 600k for several years.

Re:Launch the FUD missles.... (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | about a year ago | (#43623469)

Hmmmm. Now, imagine how this might be spun if the submitter actually understood what was done. BB and Knox were approved. Please... continue...

Re:Launch the FUD missles.... (2)

mtb_ogre (698802) | about a year ago | (#43624447)

Except, that's not what the article says. BB has long been approved, "Samsung's Knox version of Android is currently going through the security review process, with a decision expected in the next two weeks." The iPhone has already gone through the review and there were specific recommendations made to make it compliant. Samsung is using the NSA's Android version as a core component so it's likely there were some specific implementation guidelines which they followed and it's likely they won't have as many post-review changes to put in place, but until the review is done, it's hard to say. Regardless, Knox isn't even available yet and won't be for a couple of months.

Puhleez (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43623265)

Come one now, everything is bad news for BlackBerry these days.

Re:Puhleez (2)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year ago | (#43623321)

But the CEO said that tablets will be gone in 5 years. Surely he knows it all from behind the walls of his struggling company?

In 5-10 years, that statement will be on par with "Nobody will ever need more than 640k"

Re:Puhleez (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43623427)

look at netbooks 2008 vs netbooks 2013.. I dont think he is wrong per se, Tablets (in their current form) are consumer devices, the same as a TV or a video game console. but they are not a replacement for a PC, at least not in the way they are being sold right now anyway

if the CEO of RIM said that tablets in their current form will be dead in 5 years, I think the answers from most would be different

Re:Puhleez (3, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#43623713)

RIM's attempts to enter the tablet market were laughable and flopped miserably, so I would argue that they have very little understanding of that market. For them to proclaim the death of the market that they completely failed to penetrate is bizarre.

Re:Puhleez (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#43626307)

Intel disagrees.

With the PC market crashing, Intel says $200 Android laptops are on the way

PC chip giant Intel has revealed it is working with hardware partners on laptops, using the company's Atom processors and running Android, that could cost as little as $200.

http://www.smartcompany.com.au/information-technology/055350-with-the-pc-market-crashing-intel-says-200-android-laptops-are-on-the-way.html [smartcompany.com.au]

Sounds like the second coming of the netbook to me...

Re:Puhleez (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#43628395)

And consumer devices are exactly what consumers need...
A complex system like a PC is not suitable for average consumers, which is why they are perceived as being so unreliable in the eyes of the public and why there are so many problems such as malware.
Eventually you will see consumers using consumer devices, and full blown computers being back to the playthings of a small niche of geeks.

Re:Puhleez (-1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a year ago | (#43623827)

But the CEO said that tablets will be gone in 5 years. Surely he knows it all from behind the walls of his struggling company?

In 5-10 years, that statement will be on par with "Nobody will ever need more than 640k"

Units please 640K what? Are you predicting inflation where salaries need to rise to 640K$$ to be able to eat mac'n'cheese?

640K of RAM is such an old benchmark that even the Raspberry-Pi has 512MB now.

Re:Puhleez (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43624895)

640K of RAM is such an old benchmark

That's the entire point. Claiming that nobody will ever need more than a given amount of a resource has been shown short-sighted in the past.

Re:Puhleez (1)

jrumney (197329) | about a year ago | (#43626475)

But the CEO said that tablets will be gone in 5 years

He was right. What you didn't realize was that he was only talking about his own company's products.

Re:Puhleez (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43626591)

I thought RIMs tablets were DOA

BlackBerry approved same as Knox (2, Informative)

JLavezzo (161308) | about a year ago | (#43623319)

I don't understand how the takeaway from this is bad news for Blackberry. The same announcement that Samsung's Knox was approved said that Blackberry 10 is approved.
http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=119929 [defense.gov]
“We are pleased to add Blackberry 10 and the Samsung Knox version of Android to our family of mobile devices supporting the Department of Defense,” the spokesman said. “We look forward to additional vendors also participating in this process, further enabling a diversity of mobile devices for use within the department.”

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (5, Informative)

fuq2_nick (1557919) | about a year ago | (#43623337)

Blackberry previously had almost exclusive control over the government market. Now they don't - there are now other equally acceptable options such as Samsung and Apple. Blackberry has to compete, rather than simply exist.

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (2)

fatalwall (873645) | about a year ago | (#43623425)

I wouldn't have much of an issue with having to compete when the available number went from 600,000 to 8,000,000. That provides 7,400,000 new potential sales and IT staff that are more friendly to BlackBerry due to the management ability they have over them compared to Android and iPhone devices without third party software. You dont actually think each user gets to pick which device they are going to use do you?

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (1)

dimeglio (456244) | about a year ago | (#43623563)

BES supports iOS [appleinsider.com] and Android. Doesn't look like it requires third party software.

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43623573)

BES is third party software as well and not very liked either

how much is it? $5000 plus $75 per user license?

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#43623589)

Not when nobody wants your product. They will most likely end with less customers now that the market is open than they were before.

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43625593)

You dont actually think each user gets to pick which device they are going to use do you?

No, but collectively users do and they pretty much hate RIM [tapscape.com], they're down to 0.7% of new sales and while they still have a bit bigger install base to attract developers it's dwindling fast. Once the approvals are in place they'll follow the 94.7% of users already on Android or iOS, to me that'd be a no-brainer for a new rollout today.

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | about a year ago | (#43624135)

Not only that, but the certification carries implication in the private sector as well.

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about a year ago | (#43632911)

Blackberry previously had almost exclusive control over the government market. Now they don't - there are now other equally acceptable options such as Samsung and Apple. Blackberry has to compete, rather than simply exist.

Sounds like Microsoft. And it's working well for them!

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (2)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#43623467)

I don't understand how the takeaway from this is bad news for Blackberry.

You don't understand why a monopoly is good for business and bad for the customer?

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43623551)

only the luddites want a blackberry at this point

almost everyone wants an iphone 5 or a Galaxy S3/4

Typing on glass (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43624923)

How does preferring the tactile response of a physical mini-keyboard to the lack of response of a flat sheet of glass make one a Luddite? Or do you just claim that "almost everyone" doesn't give an expletive about usage errors caused by autocorrect?

Re:Typing on glass (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year ago | (#43626767)

If you're not proof-reading messages before hitting send, you're doing it wrong anyway. Touchscreen or physical keyboard. That said, I message far faster on an android device than BB's keyboards or iOS thanks to SwiftKey. BB nor iOS efficiently learn typing habits of their users, so in the past 2 years, I've never had an autocorrect happen. Food for thought.

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (3, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43623975)

I don't understand how the takeaway from this is bad news for Blackberry. The same announcement that Samsung's Knox was approved said that Blackberry 10 is approved.

Okay, we'll take it slow. Blackberry phones have been approved in the DoD for years. Android phones were never approved until this decision. Where Blackberry had a monopoly, they now have competition. This is not good news for them.

Re:BlackBerry approved same as Knox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43624059)

The negative spin on anything Blackberry is explained by the huge short interest in the company. There's big money at stake that the company wouldn't succeed. Stories of extremely good sales is a nightmare scenario for some. Expect a short squeeze the next time Blackberry reports earnings.

It was going to happen (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43623363)

If Blackberry really thought they would hold the market forever they were crazy. They had the first super secure smart phone but that really just couldn't last. If I were the CEO of Blackberry or the CSO I would of quickly been finding new ways to capitalize other markets for my phones. Thinking you can remain on top of the world forever will cause you to become IBM or Microsoft, eventually you're bound to fall, the smart people are the ones who planned for it and can keep on rolling, Blackberry I really don't see being able to.

They could have held the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43623533)

Instead, they tried to be all things to all people, and opened up their devices. They would have retained exclusive contracts for pretty much forever if they stuck to what they were good at and didn't re-introduce the BYOD problem. Sure, they wouldn't have as nice an OS for the rest of us, but you don't need to be sexy to get government contracts. By trying to follow the crowd, it became one of the crowd, and is starting to lose its foothold.

It's a shame really. Blackberry tech is pretty good and is too often ignored, and there are some really cool things in the pipeline.

Re:It was going to happen (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year ago | (#43624877)

they shoudl offer a micro edition of BES so parents can manage their kid's smartphone activity. announce the product a few days after the next teen sexting scandal.

lunacy. (2, Funny)

Adult film producer (866485) | about a year ago | (#43623415)

In what weird parellel universe is the android os ever considered secure?

Re:lunacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43623529)

An Android distro from the Koreans no less. They're Americas friends!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-American_sentiment_in_Korea

Source Code (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#43623777)

Has Blackberry given the Pentagon access to their source code? With Android the Pentagon can create their own distro.

Re:Source Code (1)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43624465)

.. really? You mean, all of the phone firmware and wifi firmware and bluetooth firmware and drivers are all 100% open source?

Cool.

Otherwise, yes, the phone vendors will have to co-operate even further with the Pentagon over what is offered today in open source.

Apple TOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43623457)

Doesn't Apples TOS prohibit Military and/or Nuclear usage with it's devices? Wouldn't that be a conflict with the pentagon?

Re:Apple TOS (4, Informative)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#43623855)

The clause you're referring to is with regard to export control and is actually US law, not something they just threw in for the hell of it:

You also agree that you will not use the iOS Software for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

The numbers are really off. (1)

will_die (586523) | about a year ago | (#43623697)

The article says 600,000 smart phone users and that there will be 8 millions in a few years, including tablets. That is really far off.
there are around 3.2 million DoD employees, active, reserve, and civilian. Lets add a bunch of contractors and say an even 4 million. Very few people get black berries most get regular cellular phone, however even the cheapest cell phones have some "smart" qualifications.
there is no way there are even close to 600,000 using black berries, android or apple devices.
that 8 million is even more of a joke are they planning to slap a tablet on to every large weapon around?

Re:The numbers are really off. (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#43623945)

Could be a multi year projection. IE they will plan to need 8 million phones over 5 years. More likely it is just padded number or curuption.

The mil iphone is going to suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43624375)

from the article:
DISA has already produced a Security Technical Implementation Guide for Apple's iOS 6 software on the iPhone 4 and 5. That shows that it would block access to the iTunes App Store, the iMessage messaging app and to the Safari browser on the device because – by defence standards – they pose a security risk. For web browsing, a third-party browser will be used and data will be routed through a Pentagon server.

Samsung Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43624385)

Can't wait for Samsung to show how it would be willing to innovate with the hardware. For example, having a separate keyfob you need to unlock or something to protect the device if it gets stolen or lost. Apple probably won't touch the hardware at all.

It's not April Fools, don't try to trick us (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#43624389)

Ha ha, Slashdot.

Trying to trick us by pretending there was something called Blackberry.

Nice try.

What happend to the old rules? (1)

joocemann (1273720) | about a year ago | (#43624589)

What happened to the good old day rules that said NO USING PERSONAL DEVICES FOR SENSITIVE GOVERNMENT WORK?

There was this concept called the 'air gap', as well.

The basis of all of it was that as a person involved in sensitive government work you have absolutely no reason/business using technologies that are not provided to you to carry out the job. This reality is still possible today. You do not need a blackberry/iphone/etc to do your job and you can live without it until 5PM or whenever you get in your car to head home.
-------------

More options = more liabilities.

ugh.

Re:What happend to the old rules? (1)

risacher (41716) | about a year ago | (#43685279)

What makes you think that these are personal devices? This article is about government-issued devices.

Industry may be big on BYOD (i.e. people using personal devices to do work) but in the DoD, that is still an odd idea that is uncomfortable to most security people. Personally I think we may get there eventually, but not without something like a separation kernel [wikipedia.org].

For example: I am a DoD employee; I have a government-issued blackberry. I use it to access my (unclassified) government email when I am not in the office. I also use the embedded GPS to help me get to meetings. Because it is a government-owned government-managed device, I cannot install apps on it, or change the security settings in any way. (There are a limited number of approved apps pre-installed.) When I am in the office I must have it turned off.

I can use my gov't blackberry to access my personal email through the web browser only. This is allowed as "incidental use", so long as it does not interfere with my duty performance. It's annoying and I rarely do it. I'm allowed to make both personal and business voice calls.

We still air-gap classified and unclassified systems. Much of what the DoD does is not classified - there are lots of lesser categories - "Controlled Unclassified Information", "Sensitive But Unclassified", or "For Official Use Only". (Which of course get acronymized to CUI, SBU and FOUO).

There have been programs in the past to have smartphones for classified email/web (e.g. SME-PED), but they've generally been horrible and unpopular.

BB must now lift a bum cheek (1)

ikhider (2837593) | about a year ago | (#43624989)

BB phones are solid. That's because the phones took years to polish and improve. The tablets are still new and the OS not quite polished. Their over-confidence left this client frustrated. BB's corporate hegemony meant they did not have to exert their usual effort, particularly with their Playbook OS, which has a lot of glitches. Customer support for the Playbook is also lacking. Now that competition is shaking things up, BB will be forced to reevaluate their products and customer (dis)satisfaction, take OS glitches more seriously and client support. (BB can take notes from Godaddy support.) A sore point is the fact the Playbook is not linux friendly, that needs to change. My linux machines recognize my BB phone, but not the tablet. My PB was a gift, otherwise I would get a linux tablet. So competition will make things interesting.

Baton Twung (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43627011)

Baton Twung uh uh uh uh.

Nadive Pwide uh uh uh uh .

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