Pentagon Bursts BlackBerry’s Bubble By Explaining It Doesn’t Really Want 80,000 Phones

Breaking up is so hard to do. Especially when the side doing the breaking up never really meant to get into a relationship in the first place. The Department of Defense is having to let BlackBerry down easy after the company got all giddy after misreading a press release into thinking that the Pentagon was going to place an order for 80,000 new phones.

That breeze you feel is from the deflation of poor BlackBerry’s chest, which was all puffed up when news outlets thought the DOD needed a slew of devices, explains The Verge.

Last week the DOD sent around a press release saying it was launching a brand spankin’ new mobile network in the agency that would use a bunch of technology. The network would support 100,000 deployed devices by the end of the year, the release explained, and added that the network already supported a bunch of mobile devices… including 80,000 BlackBerry smartphones.

That’s where the media got confused, as headlines started flying that the Pentagon would be pulling BlackBerry from the black pit of obsolescence everyone thinks it’s perched on; that this was super exciting news for the struggling company, yay, etc. Along with that surge in emotion came an upward swing for BlackBerry’s stock price, up from $9 to about $11 as the news swirled.

But alas, it was all a shimmering, ethereal dream, one that shattered when it became clear that actually, the Pentagon didn’t buy a bunch of new phones. It just said, well, we already have these.

“The program currently supports 1,800 unclassified mobile devices including iPad 3 and 4, iPhone 4S and 5, Samsung 10.1 tablets and Samsung S3, and Motorola RAZR devices with participation from the combatant commands, services, and agencies throughout DOD. The program also supports 80,000 BlackBerry phones.”

The DOD confirmed all this in a statement to The Verge, adding that this doesn’t mean it never wants new BlackBerry phones, it just doesn’t need any right now.

Absolutely no new orders have been placed for new BB devices. The DISA press release put out Jan. 16 never alluded to any devices being purchased. The 80,000 BBs and 1,800 non-BB devices referenced in the release are legacy systems already in DoD inventories.

To be fair, BlackBerry itself didn’t utter a peep about the Pentagon news to either confirm or deny it, so it likely knew those orders weren’t forthcoming, and just didn’t want to bring more attention to itself ahead of the inevitable letdown in the media.

Pentagon says ‘absolutely no new orders have been placed’ for BlackBerry phones [The Verge]

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