RIM set to lose stranglehold on government mobile market

Smartphone technology

RIM set to lose stranglehold on government mobile market

Kathleen Hall

Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) is set to lose its stranglehold on the government mobile market, as momentum to broaden the number of smartphone suppliers in Whitehall gathers pace.

Currently, Blackberry is the only smartphone device with impact level 3 (IL3) accreditation for information deemed sensitive to the working of government.

However, under the new Government Protective Marking System (GPMS) the IL1-IL3 categories will be loosely classified together as Tier 1 (T1), which is intended to open the government market to a greater number of smartphone providers.
A government document seen by Computer Weekly stressed the importance of using appropriate commercial products to enable remote working in government at T1. This could include a greater use of consumer devices such as the iPhone and Samsung and HTC handsets.

According to sources, another mobile supplier is also expected to win accreditation up to IL3 ahead of the GPMS changes, which are not expected to come through until early next year.
The move comes as RIM’s future looks increasingly bleak, with sales having recently fallen by 38% compared with its previous quarter and the company axing 5,000 staff.

GCHQ, the Government Communications Headquarters, which is responsible for security approval of IT products, confirmed last year that it has accredited the use of iPhones in lower risk environments, up to impact level 2, but a spokesman said he was unable to comment on relationships with other companies.
G-Cloud director Denise McDonagh recently told Computer Weekly that she hoped the new system would lead to a greater use of cloud services on government desktops.

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