I came across a fascinating story today, linked to by the Bacon Queen – U.S. State Department chooses Amazon’s Kindle over Apple’s iPad. The article is worth quoting at length.
Today Amazon agreed to a no-bid, $16.5 million contract with the U.S. State Department to provide 2,500 Kindle Touches for the government’s overseas language-education programs.
The document released today identifies the State Department’s need for a program that provides “a secure, centrally managed content distribution and management platform to centrally manage an unlimited number of e-reader/tablet devices.” and unfortunately Apple’s iPad falls short of this requirement, according to the State Department. But that isn’t the only factor.
“The additional features [of the iPad] are not only unnecessary, but also present unacceptable security and usability risks for the government’s needs in this particular project,” the State Department document says. “Critically, the Apple iPad falls short on two requirements: the centrally managed platform for registration and content delivery, and battery life.”
According to the State Department, the Kindle not only surpasses these requirements, but also has international 3G capabilities, text-to-speech features and an extended battery life. These features alone were enough for a $16.5 million contract. With its deal, the State Department can purchase more than 2,500 Kindles over the next five years. This leaves Amazon the job of shipping these devices overseas, as well as teaching the specifics on how to access content while providing 24/7 customer service.
Amazon is also responsible for disabling “certain standard features for the e-Reader.”
The notion that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) will sweep all models before it, with users choosing their own consumer class devices, and IT following along behind to support user choices, is now received wisdom in the industry. Most of the chatter so far has compared Apple and Android security, app and permission models. But perhaps we’re seeing the beginning of a Not Your Own Device backlash.
But it may be that the Kindle has a distinct advantage over its multifunction peers – it is precisely the lack of functionality that won Amazon this State Department deal. Governments of course tend to be aggressively conservative – I think we can expect other Departments to follow suit.
I have written before about Amazon winning Simple in the cloud market. Well now it has a similar play to make in mobile. This is an example of Weakness as Strength. Low cost bandwidth, super long battery life, what’s not to like? Also note the last line, where Amazon has made concessions to enterprise security- enterprise IT folks *love* vendor concessions…
People love to say how awesome and simple Apple keeps thing. Not as simple as the Kindle… Please let me know if you come across any other organisations making the Kindle choice.