As expected, the Pentagon has finally approved Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices for use on the United States military networks, Bloomberg learned Friday. The clearance sets the stage for Apple to compete with Samsung and BlackBerry for military sales. According to the report, the Defense Department today approved the use of Apple’s portable products running the iOS 6 software…
Earlier in the month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Defense Department would soon approve iOS 6 devices for use by government agencies. Samsung’s devices running its Knox security software and BlackBerry 10 smartphones and PlayBook tablets were both approved in early-May, ahead of Apple.
Bloomberg notes that today’s approval eventually may “spur a three-way fight for a market long dominated by Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry.”
While Apple’s devices have already been popular with the U.S. government, the security clearance means employees will be able to use iPhones and iPads in more secure areas. As for military personnel, they will be able to use iOS 6 hardware for nonclassified communications.
According to Reuters, the Pentagon’s fleet of 600,000 smartphones comprises of 470,000 BlackBerrys, 41,000 Apple devices and 8,700 Android devices.
Back in February, the United States Defense Department confirmed in a media release that it would open its communications networks to about hundred thousand devices from Apple and Google by February 2014.
The Wall Street Journal reported at the time:
The Pentagon said it wants employees to have the flexibility to use commercial products on classified and unclassified networks. It plans to create a military mobile applications store and hire a contractor to build a system that may eventually handle as many as 8 million devices.
Interestingly enough, Samsung – which has never been a major player in government and military – recently bolstered its corporate team with former RIM employees and security veterans. In turn, Samsung’s hard work in Washington is now paying off.
Samsung also recently created an in-house enterprise team and launched rugged versions of the Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone to make it more durable for field use.