BlackBerry surges on support from US Defense Dept

Systems agency announces 80,000 BlackBerry handsets to be included in new network
BlackBerry surges on commitment from US Defense De

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BlackBerry shares got a welcome boost as the US Defense Department confirmed that it was continuing its long-standing relationship with the Canadian smartphone maker.

According to a Bloomberg report, a statement last week from the Defense Information Systems Agency said that around 80,000 BlackBerry handsets would be connected to a new network from the end of this month. By comparison, Android- and Apple-based phones and tablets account for only 1,800 devices.

The news is an indication that while BlackBerry has lost its appeal among consumers, government customers may still rely on its phones as they are able to meet the more strict security standards set by government entities.

BlackBerry stock was up 8.2% in Toronto on Monday and then 8.1% in New York on Tuesday after exchanges reopened following observance of Martin Luther King Day.

BlackBerry has seen about 95% of its market capitalisation wiped out through competing devices from Apple, Samsung and others. Its US stock plunged 37% during 2013, but has gained around 22% this year, up to 17 January.

New CEO John Chen is committed to a realignment of the company, focusing on the enterprise customers that its earlier success was built on.

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