Halliburton, a major energy provider with its headquarters in Dubai, is set to transition thousands of its employees from BlackBerry smartphones onto Apple iOS devices, Apple Insider has reported.
The website claims that Halliburton will leverage the popular Apple platform to provide secure access to internal applications from outside the corporate network. Sources say that the switch was in part driven by staff demand.
Currently, around 4,500 Halliburton employees are said to use BlackBerry devices for work purposes. Those devices, made by Canadian vendor Research In Motion (RIM), were said to have first been rolled out at Halliburton a decade ago.
"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," read an internal newsletter circulated by Halliburton earlier this month.
The email adds that the company's decision is based on "significant research" by Halliburton into both the iOS and Google Android platforms, which found that the Apple operating system "offered the best capabilities, controls and security for application development". Halliburton is reportedly not interested in supporting multiple mobile platforms at this time.
Halliburton, whose revenues last year were $24.8 billion, employs around 60,000 staff globally. The company is jointly-based in Houston, Texas and Dubai, UAE.
The loss of a major regional customer is the latest blow to RIM, which has suffered a tumultuous last few months. In October, the company's BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging service went offline across much of the world for a number of days, which led then co-CEO Mike Lazaridis to issue a public apology.
Lazaridis and RIM's other co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, resigned from their leadership roles at the company in 2012. During the last 12 months or so of their tenure, RIM's share price more than halved.
RIM has also faced declining share in the booming smartphone market, as well as a lukewarm reaction to its Playbook tablet, which went on sale in 2011.