Obama keeps his BlackBerry; White House explores other options
Then-Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., checks his BlackBerry in St. Louis, Mo., in this photo taken July 7, 2008. (AP /Jae C. Hong)
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, March 21, 2014 6:43PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 21, 2014 8:08PM EDT
U.S. President Barack Obama is sticking with his BlackBerry as the White House carries out a pilot program that is reportedly testing out competitor smartphones.
The Wall Street Journal posted an article Thursday saying the White House’s internal technology team is testing out Samsung and LG smartphones, and that the test project is “in the early stages.”
But White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday that the Executive Office of the President isn’t participating in any pilot programs involving their mobile devices.
The Associated Press reported the pilot program is being conducted by the White House Communications Agency, which is part of the Defence Department.
Initial reports about the pilot program led to speculation that Obama may soon be parting ways with his beloved BlackBerry device, which would be a high-profile hit to the struggling smartphone maker.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca Friday, a spokesperson for BlackBerry said it’s been securing the White House’s mobile communications for more than a decade.
“We were the first mobility platform to receive the ‘Authority to Operate’ certification from the Department of Defense,” Blackberry said. “Governments test new technologies frequently, but nevertheless the U.S. government continues to choose BlackBerry for its unmatched security and cost effectiveness."
It added BlackBerry’s operating system has received the “highest security approvals” from the United States, Great Britain and NATO.
BlackBerry was once considered a pioneer in mobile technology and a bona fide Canadian success story, but the beleaguered Waterloo, Ont.-based company has been suffering from dismal sales in recent years as other companies, including Apple, pulled ahead in the smartphone market.
It’s not uncommon for companies to switch mobile phone platforms.
In 2013, Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank switched part of their smartphone management systems to a competitor. In the U.S., pharmaceutical company Pfizer severed ties from BlackBerry.
On Friday, BlackBerry announced that it had reached an agreement to sell a majority of its Canadian real estate holdings in an effort to turn business around.