This I find very surprising because I believe the NOAA has used the BlackBerry for many years.
It seems that the reason for the surprise move is economic and not technological. Seemingly the switch to the iPhone will help the organisation cut its costs, something that all federal government departments are being forced to do in the US. While the nation is starting to recover from recent economic problems, agencies such as the NOAA are still expected to reduce its expenditure.
I have to say, as a BlackBerry owner, that this argument to me doesn’t seem to wash. One of the reasons for using a BlackBerry is the relatively low cost compared to Apple’s iPhone. The latter is not cheap.
However, the cost is apparently a result of using RIM’s added value services, which push up the overall cost. The NOAA board must have decided that compared to the extra that has to be paid for a similar (presumably inclusive) Apple service, switching makes more sense.
The switch to Apple will be gradual, I understand. Not everyone will have to start using an iPhone immediately. The switch will take a few months. However, the NOAA hopes to have got rid of RIM’s email servers by June this year.
This is the second switch for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. The latter moved to Google apps for government last December.