Gartner: BlackBerry's dead. 'Not yet,' says phone maker

Summary:Gartner said a not-so-nice thing about BlackBerry, and the phone maker disagrees. Although, being a Canadian firm, it was terribly polite about the whole thing.

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Image: CNET

Don't you just love a good Monday morning tiff?

Research firm Gartner recommended on Friday that BlackBerry enterprise clients "take no more than six months to consider and implement alternatives," according to analyst Bill Menezes in an email interview.

In lieu of a full report — expected soon — Menezes emphasized that all clients should have or implement backup mobile data management plans and test alternative devices to BlackBerry.

But BlackBerry was quick to refute claims that it was on its deathbed. The firm said in an emailed statement to ZDNet on Monday: "We recognize and respect external parties' opinions on BlackBerry's recent news. However, many of the conclusions by Gartner about the potential impact of a sale or other strategic alternatives, are purely speculative."

The company reiterated its ongoing restructuring effort, just days after it cut 40 percent of its workforce , as it continues to "pursu[e] strategic alternatives to increase its focus on its core enterprise business." 

Last week, BlackBerry said it will be sold to a consortium led by Fairfax financial, a deal worth $4.7 billion , or $9 a share. Days later, despite terrible guidance on deck for its fiscal second quarter, BlackBerry reported a loss of close to $1 billion for the quarter .   

"We remain steadfast in our mission to deliver the most secure and powerful mobile management solutions and smartphones to our customers," the BlackBerry statement concluded.

Many international organizations, including governments — notably the U.S. administration — run tens of thousands of BlackBerry devices. But over the course of the past year, enterprise customers in particular became wary of the company's future amid recent quarterly losses and poor BlackBerry 10 reception with consumers and enterprises, many of these crucial government agencies — and their contracts — came under threat by rival phone makers.

The Canadian smartphone maker is the only company to have secured U.S. Defense Department device management approva l, a so-called "authority to operate" on the internal government network. The U.S. Defense Information System Agency (DISA), the government's IT and communications support group, said in August it was architecting its infrastructure to support 10,000 BlackBerry 10 smartphones by the third quarter, and by 30,000 by the end of this year.

In November, the U.S. government awarded BlackBerry 10  government certification  to run the next-generation operating system and platform in a government setting.

But Apple came along and scored similar clearance. The Pentagon cleared iPhones and iPads running iOS 6 for use in the U.S. military, just over a week after the U.S. government cleared the software for federal use.

But many other agencies are leaving the BlackBerry behind and flocking to the iPhone.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said in December it would  pull the plug on its contract  with the beleaguered phone maker in favor of Apple's iPhone, thanks to its back-end management features and IT policy restrictions. Meanwhile, weeks later, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also said it would drop their contract with the company in order to seek alternatives. 

Topics: BlackBerry, Smartphones

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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