May 23, 2014
BlackBerry (BBRY) last week said it had decided to open BlackBerry 10 support to several of its competitors in the enterprise management mobility (EMM) space, including AirWatch, Citrix (CTXS), IBM and SAP. But what might be of more interest to those following the EMM market are the players BlackBerry didn’t include in its support group: MobileIron and Good Technology.
By opening up its BlackBerry 10 operating system to its competitors, the Waterloo, Ontario-based technology company may be placing itself in a better position to satisfy the demands in the EMM market by making things a little easier on enterprises managing employee devices in the workplace.
For instance, if an enterprise is leveraging a third-party EMM platform to manage devices, it no longer has to assist employees with migrating from a BlackBerry 10 device to an Apple (AAPL) iOS or Google (GOOG) Android device — that is, of course, if the enterprise isn’t using Good Technology or MobileIron software.
Gartner Mobile and Client Computing Research Director Chris Silva told MSPmentor in a phone interview that BlackBerry’s move “clearly benefits the device-side of the house.”
“This is a device strategy, right now, where the more BlackBerry 10 devices that can be supported on the installed bases of MDM that are there, the better it is for the device business,” he said.
John Sims, president of Global Enterprise Services at BlackBerry, said the following in a company blog post regarding the company’s decision to work with AirWatch, Citrix and IBM:
“AirWatch, Citrix and IBM will be the first companies to work with BlackBerry to enable a more open mobility ecosystem. We’re doing this to provide our customers with choices in how they will meet the full array of employee mobility needs as the demand to manage multiple operating systems rises within IT organizations. Like BlackBerry, these MDM providers understand that customers come first, and that providing the market with a range of options of both devices and MDM platforms is beneficial for everyone.”
A BlackBerry spokesperson told MSPmentor in an email that the decision to include these EMM vendors into the mix was based on “feedback we’ve received from customers.”
The spokesperson added: “At this point we are not announcing any further partnerships.”
In response to BlackBerry’s exclusion of MobileIron, Ojas Rege, strategy vice president at MobileIron, sent MSPmentor this emailed statement:
“In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down in response to a call from the President of the United States for the Soviet Union to open up. With BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry erected the mobile version of the Berlin Wall around their devices. This was a significant departure from their traditional strategy of supporting the management and security ecosystem.
“This put BlackBerry 10 devices at a tremendous disadvantage in the enterprise market because many large enterprises had decided to use third-party EMM platforms to manage all their mobile devices. This gave Apple, Google, Nokia, and Samsung an advantage despite BlackBerry’s long history of enterprise success.
“We applaud BlackBerry’s recent decision to begin opening up management and security APIs for BlackBerry 10 devices. If BlackBerry goes through with this and creates an open API program like Apple, Google, Nokia, and Samsung, we are hopeful that BlackBerry 10 devices will see stronger adoption in the enterprise.
“We look forward to working together with BlackBerry to tear down this wall and to serve the needs of the long list of mutual customers in financial services, government and other regulated industries.”
A Good Technology spokesperson told MSPmentor, “Good does not have any insight on BlackBerry’s announcement at this time.”
It’s important to note that the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based EMM company is hoping to raise $100 million in an initial public offering (IPO) it filed for last week.
MobileIron in April filed the necessary paperwork to take the company public in an IPO that it hopes will raise $100 million.
BlackBerry’s spokesperson did say that the company has “not ruled out partnering with additional vendors and will continue to work with existing and new partners based on common objectives and market demand.”
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