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December 13, 2012

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to Test Blackberry 10

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

There is hopeful news for the struggling Research in Motion (News - Alert) company – with word this week that a key U.S. agency will at least test RIM's forthcoming BlackBerry 10. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), which plans to have its employees switch to Apple’s iPhone (News - Alert), plans to test the BlackBerry 10 starting early next year. The test will feature BlackBerry smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 – which will let the government run the phones on networks.

RIM has lost significant market share to the iPhone and Android (News - Alert) operating systems. The move by ICE shows how the company is trying to get government and business customers to stay with or return to RIM. At stake with ICE are more than 17,600 employees. One possibility for ICE is to use RIM's BES 10 platform to manage both iPhones and BlackBerry (News - Alert) devices, according to Reuters.

In October, ICE said the RIM product would "no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency," according to a report from IT Also according to The Wall Street Journal, Barbara Gonzalez, the spokeswoman for ICE, declined to offer comment on its prior assessment of RIM.

“We are not backing away from iOS (Apple (News - Alert)) or RIM,” she said. “(ICE has a) long and good relationship with RIM.”  The Journal said she suggested ICE wants to continue that relationship. But it remains unclear what form that might take.

Meanwhile, the news was a positive trend for the company, with RIM shares closing at their highest price in seven months one day this week, news reports said. As of Thursday afternoon, RIM “continued its winning streak, rising 4.8 percent – with the latest gain following news (about ICE). From its low in September, RIM shares have now rebounded 125 percent,” according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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