Will BlackBerry BES support Windows Phone? And when?

Summary:BlackBerry might be expanding its multi-platform strategy in the enterprise to include Windows Phone.

Windows Phone hasn't made a serious dent in the enterprise (yet), but BlackBerry CEO John Chen has suggested his company may nonetheless support Microsoft's mobile OS.

In a recent interview with BlackBerry enthusiast site Crackberry, the recently appointed CEO hinted that BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 support for Windows Phone could be in the works.

Talking about theoretical and unreleased versions of BES — "BES 11, 12, 13, 14" — and how BlackBerry would use security to reclaim lost ground in the enterprise market, Chen discussed how the company intends to work with enterprises' iPhone, Android and even Windows Phone rollouts.

"I could put a sales team on Wall Street. I know how to do this up and down Wall Street... we will go in and tell them why BES is the best thing for them, and go through the roadmap, the offerings, and all that good stuff. We're going to protect their investment in iPhone, and Android, and everywhere else, even with Windows Phones," Chen is quoted as saying.

If BlackBerry does go down this path, it would mark a fairly significant shift in its stance on non-BlackBerry platforms so far. To date, BlackBerry has excluded Windows Phone support from its consumer and enterprise products.

Despite Windows Phone's recent growth in some markets , the platform didn't make the cut for BlackBerry's new multi-platform BBM apps, and nor did it for Secure Work Space — the device management service for iOS and Android that launched mid-last year as part of BES 10. 

Secure Work Space offered similar controls to Balance, compartmentalising data on Android and iOS devices to keep corporate information — including calendars, events, email and apps — distinct from an employee's personal data held on the same device.

Back then Nokia was still trying to find its feet with Windows Phone, which hadn't really gained a presence in the enterprise. Now it has surpassed BlackBerry's handset marketshare in the US and Europe, and while Windows Phone remains a minor presence compared with iOS and Android, Microsoft — which should finalise its purchase of Nokia's devices business this quarter — is expected to plough more resources into making Windows Phone enterprise-ready this year with the release an enterprise feature pack, extended support cycles and VPN support. 

A spokesperson for BlackBerry told ZDNet: "BlackBerry intends to support all devices, including Windows. At this time, we have not publicly confirmed availability."

Topics: Mobile OS, Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone


Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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