BlackBerry Freezes Over

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — May 13, 2014

There’s definitely a new BlackBerry in town, as under John Chen’s leadership, the company continues to break its own rules. Today it announced that it will enable mobile device management (MDM) companies to directly manage devices with the BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Earlier in the strategy, just before Thorsten Heins’ departure, the company had whispered about its BES10 platform being inclusive of other OSes and at a recent forum, John Sims, President of Global Enterprise Services at BlackBerry, could not emphasize this point enough saying, “When BES10 was first introduced, it was mumbled that we support Android and iOS. We don’t mumble anymore—we say that very strongly. We support iOS, Android and BlackBerry, and we support all the security paradigms.”

The opening of the BlackBerry OS, to others, however, was a move not predicted, but inevitable for success. In the BlackBerry Business Blog today, Sims wrote, “We’re making this strategic move to continue providing the most open and flexible mobile environments for our customers. We’ve expanded our BES10 and BBM messaging platform to include iOS and Android, and later this year we will add Windows Phone. And, with the help of our partners we hope to continue to provide customers increased flexibility and choice in their mobile device environments.”

Preferred Partners
AirWatch, Citrix and IBM have expressed their intent to be the first companies to work with BlackBerry to enable a more open mobility ecosystem. In doing so, BlackBerry will provide organizations with more options to embrace multi-operating system mobile environments by enabling other MDM companies to manage BlackBerry 10 devices.

According to Sims, “MDM has become table stakes; it is no longer a meaningful point of differentiation. The differentiation for BlackBerry in the future will be our ability to enable secure, productive mobile communications, collaboration and other applications. Additionally, we remain the only company who can provide customers the flexibility to choose between any of the popular policy models such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE).”

Ron Louks, President of Devices and Emerging Solutions, BlackBerry commented, “This is a natural next step in our enterprise strategy as we seek to provide our customers with maximum choice in how they will meet the full array of employee mobility needs.”

Partners’ Perspectives
“The enterprise mobility landscape continues to rapidly evolve, and BlackBerry represents a valued addition to our partner ecosystem,” said Kevin Keith, Director of Business Development, AirWatch by VMware. “The integration of the BlackBerry 10 operating system into the comprehensive AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management Platform will empower our customers and partners to fully manage any device in their mobile fleet from a single console.”

“At Citrix, our vision is to deliver mobile workspaces to users anywhere, any time and on any device. As an industry EMM leader, Citrix XenMobile extends support to all enterprise devices. We have long supported BlackBerry OS devices, and the new BlackBerry 10 APIs create exciting possibilities,” said Chris Fleck, Vice President of Mobility Solutions & Alliances, Citrix.

BlackBerry will continue to offer its multi-platform EMM solution, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10), which manages and secures corporate-owned and BYOD BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices.

“Continue to offer” might be a bit of an understatement as Sims wrote, “It’s important to clarify that our goal is to remain number one in EMM.” BlackBerry also intends to launch BES12 in late 2014, adding Windows Phone 8 support.


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