EC Picks iPhone, HTC Over BlackBerry, Adds To Wild Week For RIM

The European Union Commission snubbed Research In Motion's BlackBerry and selected Apple iPhone and HTC smartphones for use by its 2,500-member staff, the latest development in an up and down week for RIM, which also saw the launch of its new BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone along with an international dustup over Blackberry monitoring by foreign governments.

The EU Commission said it based its smartphone evaluations on criteria including security, resilience, and financial impact, Reuters reported.

"Following this evaluation, the HTC and the iPhones emerged as the most suitable platforms for voice/mail-centric mobile devices. As a result, the Commission currently supports these two platforms," the spokesman wrote in an e-mail, according to Reuters.

The Commission had used PDAs made by Qtek, now owned by Taiwan's HTC.

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Meanwhile, RIM has been forced to publicly address the issue of whether it is protecting customer information in the face of demands for access by foreign governments.

RIM said it had rejected demands by the government of India for access to encrypted BlackBerry e-mails and messages, Reuters reported. That controversy mirrors one in the United Arab Emirates, where the government said it will block BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and Web services by October unless it is given access to users’ communications. RIM took a public stand Tuesday, saying users’ communication would not and could not be accessed under BlackBerry security architecture.

’The BlackBerry enterprise solution was designed to preclude RIM, or any third party, from reading encrypted information under any circumstances since RIM does not store or have access to the encrypted data,’ the statement read. ’RIM cannot accommodate any request for a copy of a customer’s encryption key, since at no time does RIM, or any wireless network operator or any third party, ever possess a copy of the key. This means that customers of the BlackBerry enterprise solution can maintain confidence in the integrity of the security architecture without fear of compromise.’

On a brighter note, RIM enjoyed the launch of the BlackBerry Torch 9800, the first BlackBerry to feature BlackBerry OS 6.0.

The launch has placed the BlackBerry back in the smartphone conversation and helps it compete with Apple's iPhone and a Android-based devices.