Irish Government Encourages Members to Buy iPads, Drops Support for BlackBerry

iPAdAs if we didn’t have enough evidence of iOS gaining momentum in the enterprise and government sector at the cost of RIM’s marketshare, SiliconRepublic today brings to us another such example, this time in Ireland.

In an attempt to cut-down on paper consumption, the members of the Irish Parliament, referred to as TDs, have been told to buy their own iPads. The Oireachtas Commission (the Irish Parliament) will buy the iPads in bulk from service provider Vodafone, and will in turn pass these devices to TDs, who will be required to pay the full cost of the device.

Here’s the relevant bit from SiliconRepublic’s report:

[A] new mechanism has been agreed upon with telecoms provider Vodafone, whereby the Oireachtas Commission will buy iPads in bulk and TDs and senators will refund the cost to the ICT unit.

The recommended iPad model will be the 32GB iPad with Wi-Fi and cellular, which costs €739 on the Apple Store.

In that way, TDs and senators can say to the taxpayer that they paid for the device out of their own pockets. Politicians who buy the tablet computers under this mechanism will be provided with IT support for their devices by the Oireachtas ICT team.

Although the ultimate aim is to reduce paper consumption, the Oireachtas isn’t eliminating printers completely. Instead, it will be setting up shared AirPrint printers across the parliament, which can be used in cases where a printed copy of a document is unavoidable.

Additionally, the Irish Parliament also said that it will be dropping support for the BlackBerry sometime next year, and is discouraging members from buying a new BlackBerry device. The reason:

One of the reasons BlackBerry support is being dropped is the Oireachtas ICT unit no longer wishes to pay to keep a BlackBerry Enterprise Server running when no such server is required for Android or iPhone devices.

“The provision of support for BlackBerrys carries the additional cost of two separate servers, power, cooling, administration and annual support,” the spokesperson explained.

While RIM works on its upcoming BB10 platform, hoping to make a comeback in the enterprise market, iOS and Android devices are steadily gaining traction in this sector, making things very difficult for BlackBerry.