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Ford announces switch to iPhone from BlackBerry

Ford follows a number of corporations, including Home Depot, Cisco and Dell, which have switched away from Blackberry over the past few years.

Alexander F. Yuan/AP

Ford Motor Co. is converting its staff from BlackBerry smartphones to iPhones, serving another blow to the Canadian company as its new chief executive officer John Chen tries to reinvent its brand.

Ford will replace BlackBerry smartphones with iPhones for 3,300 employees by the end of this year, the U.S. auto giant said. Eventually, the goal is to switch the entire workforce to the iPhone.

"At this time, it (the iPhone) is the best solution for the company," said Sara Tatchio, a Ford spokeswoman.

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Ford, which has more than 200,000 employees around the globe, also posted a job advertisement for a technology analyst whose "primary focus" through early-2015 is global deployment of corporate iPhones.

Ford follows a number of corporations, including Home Depot, Cisco and Dell, which have switched away from Blackberry over the past few years.

"While we can't comment on this customer, we understand that there is diversity in the market," said a BlackBerry spokesperson. "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."

Blackberry announced Tuesday it is buying privately-held German firm Secusmart GmbH, which specializes in voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping services for governments, companies and telecommunications service providers, in a move to expand its presence in the security market.

Secusmart's technology is currently being used to protect the devices of government officials in both Canada and Germany, including the BlackBerry device used by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the wake of the U.S. spying scandal last year.

"Knock on wood. I feel pretty good about where we are in terms of the turnaround," said Mr. Chen in an interview with Reuters.

Apple recently announced it is joining forces with IBM to develop corporate software for iPhones and iPads, a move designed to scoop up a greater share of corporate users, traditionally BlackBerry's core customer base.

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Blackberry shares fell 4.4 per cent Tuesday, while Ford shares closed 0.4 per cent lower.

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