The second largest U.S. automaker will replace BlackBerry
Ltd.’s smartphones with iPhones for about 3,300 workers by the
end of this year, Sara Tatchio, a Ford spokeswoman, said today
in an interview. About 6,000 more employees will receive iPhones
over the next two years, replacing flip phones, she said. Ford
is hiring a mobile technology analyst whose main focus will be
to oversee the “global deployment of corporate iPhones,” the
company said in an online job posting.
Apple is pursuing a bigger slice of the corporate market
for smartphone and tablet users and said this month it will work
with International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) to create business
software for iPhones and iPads. The pair put aside a three-decade-old rivalry in a move that helps Cupertino, California-based Apple cater to an increasingly mobile workforce. The deal
also helps Armonk, New York-based IBM play catch-up to
technology giants including Apple that were quicker to seize on
a boom in mobile computing.
“We are going to get everyone on iPhones,” Tatchio said.
“It meets the overall needs of the employees because it is able
to serve both our business needs in a secure way and the needs
we have in our personal lives with a single device.”
Having all employees on the same smartphone will improve
security and simplify information technology management, Tatchio
said. Ford is making “no extra investment” to convert to
iPhones, other than the cost of replacing the devices, she said.
The switch to iPhones by Ford, which has about 181,000
employees worldwide, is a blow to BlackBerry and Chief Executive
Officer John Chen, who has sought to turn around the company by
prioritizing software-based services for corporations as its
smartphone sales slump.
“While we can’t comment on this customer, we understand
that there is diversity and choice in the market,” Adam Emery,
a BlackBerry spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.
“Enterprises should think twice about relying on any solution
built on the foundation of a consumer technology that lacks the
proven security benefits that BlackBerry has always delivered.”
Apple’s iPhone is expected to represent almost 15 percent
of the smartphone market this year, while BlackBerry is
predicted to have less than 1 percent, according to a forecast
in May from researcher IDC.
Ford’s move away from BlackBerry contrasts with its
decision to use the Waterloo, Ontario-based company’s QNX in the
next-generation version of its Sync in-car technology system.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker chose to replace
Microsoft Corp.’s system with QNX, people briefed on the matter
said in February.
Ford shares slipped 0.4 percent to $17.57 at the close in
New York. BlackBerry dropped 4.4 percent to $9.51, while Apple
fell 0.6 percent to $98.38.
To contact the reporters on this story:
Craig Trudell in Tokyo at
Keith Naughton in Detroit at
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Young-Sam Cho at
Niamh Ring, Jamie Butters