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Halliburton Adopts iPhone, Casts BlackBerry Aside

A big and important, long-time customer abandons RIM's BlackBerry in order to standardize on iPhones for employees.

In what is yet another blow to struggling Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry, energy giant Halliburton has decided to phase out the platform and move to Apple's iPhone.

The report comes from website AppleInsider, which obtained an internal newsletter explaining the firm's plans to begin its switch to iOS. The company has nearly 60,000 employees worldwide, around 4,500 of whom carry BlackBerry handsets, according to the report.

In the message, employees were told, "Over the next year, we will begin expanding the use of our mobile technology by transitioning from the BlackBerry (RIM) platform that we currently use to smartphone technology via the iPhone." The full transition, Halliburton told AppleInsider, will happen in phases over the next two years.

RIM has been losing the favor of smartphone users in recent months thanks to the increasing popularity of mobile operating systems such as Apple's iOS and Google's Android. The company released its Q3 2011 earnings report in December and saw a year-over-year earnings drop of 6%. Then in late January, it saw a management shuffle as RIM's Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis announced they would be stepping down from their positions as former COO Thorsten Heins took over as chief executive, further indication that the BlackBerry maker is having financial difficulties.

BYTE's Chris Spera applauds RIM's management changes and thinks they have to make some radical changes quickly in order to survive.

Halliburton reportedly did some "significant" research into rival platforms iOS and Android. It decided that Apple's mobile OS would best suit its needs because it "offered the best capabilities, controls and security for application development."

Halliburton's plan is to provide custom iOS apps for employees so they can securely access information they need from outside of the company's network.

Apple has been actively working toward making its iOS platform more business friendly in recent years. It highlighted enhanced enterprise features in 2010 with the debut of iOS 4 and has continued to work toward gaining control of the workplace.

It's unclear whether Halliburton's switch to iOS will extend to the iPad. However, a recent survey did show that iPad adoption is growing in the workplace as some employees put down their laptops and pick up a tablet.

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