Ford’s recently departed CEO and President Alan Mulally may have just joined Google’s Board of Directors, but the automobile company is handing its smartphone allegiance over to Apple. A Ford spokesperson tells Bloomberg the automobile manufacturer is positioned to replace its employee BlackBerry smartphones with company-issued iPhones to be used by its global workforce.
“We are going to get everyone on iPhones,” Tatchio said. “It meets the overall needs of the employees because it is able to serve both our business needs in a secure way and the needs we have in our personal lives with a single device.”
Having all employees on the same smartphone will improve security and simplify information technology management, Tatchio said. Ford is making “no extra investment” to convert to iPhones, other than the cost of replacing the devices, she said.
According to Bloomberg’s report, Ford will distribute Apple’s iPhone to 3,300 company employees by the end of this year while the goal is to replace 6,000 phones within the next two years. The report also notes Ford is hiring for a position to monitor global corporate iPhone deployment. Globally, Ford employs about 181,000 employees
although it’s unclear from the report how many receive company-issued cell phones.
The news comes just two weeks after Apple and IBM announced a new partnership focused on distributing Apple’s iPhone and iPad smartphones and tablets among more enterprise customers while developing software solutions for those customers.
In that announcement, Apple noted that iOS 8, the next major software update for the iPhone and iPad due this fall, will bring additional enterprise-focused features:
Announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June and available later this year, Apple’s iOS 8 is the biggest release since the launch of the App Store℠, giving users incredible new features and developers the tools to create amazing new apps. For enterprise, iOS 8 builds on the new IT model for a mobilized workforce by improving the way users are informed of how their devices are configured, managed or restricted, with expanded security, management and productivity features.
Ford was also announced as a committed partner for supporting Apple’s CarPlay infotainment feature officially shown off earlier this year.
Update: 9to5Mac spoke with a Ford spokesperson regarding Bloomberg’s report.
The 3,300 iPhones will be rolled out on a need-to-replace basis and replaces company-issued BlackBerry smartphones, while the additional 6,000 iPhones being rolled out on a need-to-replace basis will replace company-issued smartphones across 2015 and 2016.
The move to iPhone will cover most if not all Ford-issued employee phones to qualifying positions; once the rollout is complete, it will be a full switch to iPhone rather than a test run to select employees.