BlackBerry execs pitch enterprise customers: 'BlackBerry is here to stay'

BlackBerry execs pitch enterprise customers: 'BlackBerry is here to stay'

Summary: Amid a lot of corporate turmoil, three BlackBerry executives outlined their enterprise mobile device management plans to tech buyers. Will IT buyers stick with BlackBerry?


ORLANDO — BlackBerry executives made their pitch to a somewhat skeptical group of technology leaders that the company has the best mobile device management tools and the staying power to be worthy of additional investment in its software and services.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium and ITXpo, a trio of executives leading the company's enterprise software business — think BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 and mobile device management — highlighted the company's cloud plans, total cost of ownership and security for its applications that manage Android and iOS devices.

The elephant in the room, which was well attended as BlackBerry execs spoke, revolved around this question: Can you count on the company sticking around?

Stephen Bates, head of BlackBerry's enterprise business, addressed the issue directly. "A lot of people trust the BlackBerry platform. I believe the future is bright and BlackBerry is here to stay," said Bates, who added that the company's balance sheet is strong and going private enables it to invest in what the enterprise cares about.

Previously: Consortium offers to buy BlackBerry for $4.7 billion | BlackBerry previews new cloud-based mobile enterprise solution | Gartner: BlackBerry's dead. 'Not yet,' says phone maker | BlackBerry reports $965m loss, thanks to Z10 flop

Bates also talked up BlackBerry's reach and support.

However, the BlackBerry customers in attendance — we interviewed three —were rooting for the company, but also had exit strategies being formulated. Indeed, this Gartner conference is loaded with mobile device management companies talking themselves up and BlackBerry down among the thousands of CIOs in attendance.

bbry mdm

The consensus among the technology executives was that BlackBerry was late to the mobile device management game and many were evaluating options. Two of the three executives had already shut down BlackBerry Enterprise Server, but wanted to see if there was any secret sauce left. "BlackBerry is too late. They had the opportunity two years ago to do this," said one exec.

Bates said earlier that BES 10 has been a success given its trials and implementations planned.

It didn't help BlackBerry's cause that Gartner issued a report telling its clients to pursue an exit strategy given the uncertainty around the company. In a September 27 research note, Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said:

All BlackBerry organizations must decide on a new course of action. BlackBerry won't be gone tomorrow. You have approximately a six-month time window to consider alternatives and then implement them.

Since that note, BlackBerry announced a plan to go private in a move that should alleviate exit fears a bit.

Donna Henderson, vice president of enterprise marketing, alluded to Dulaney's report and called it sensational. "I'm not sure there was any real analysis," said Henderson, who noted that "even Gartner" noted that BlackBerry had the most unique and secure mobile device management platform.

Leading up to Bates' comments Henderson and Jeff Holleran, senior director of enterprise product management at BlackBerry, talked ease of use and how the company's wares could better manage devices. Holleran touted a plan to offer user self service to reduce calls to IT.

Henderson, who acknowledged she has an Apple iPhone, iPad and a Q10, the BlackBerry architecture keeps her devices in sync and can better manage "bring your own chaos" plans.

Overall, BlackBerry deserves credit for delivering its product pitches while also addressing the corporate chaos relative to rivals right now. The attendance in the room indicated that there was interest among enterprise customers. It remains to be seen if the interest turns into actual enterprise purchases or is merely a case of curiosity. "No matter what happens we're focused on this part of the business," said Henderson.

Topics: Mobility, Enterprise Software, BlackBerry

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  • Bad play

    IMO this is a company that doesn't have it's act together. Your best bet is to stay clear of them and if you have anything, like BES, dump it ASAP. They might have had something a long time ago then they lost it and now they are just a mess. BES was always a beastly resource hog and there are several good alternatives available for cross platform mobile management that have been around a while.
    • Like?

      Have you actually used any of these "good alternatives"? At the moment we have 3 MDM solutions and BES 5 and BES 10 are the easiest to manage as well have the least amount of footprint and licensing cost.

      Good Technology - Expensive, hard to scale, users hate it, added functionality requires additional servers and licensing. At the end of the day you have a locked down solution that may equal BES in some ways but in others is way behind.

      Mobile Iron- Complex installation, additional servers and licensing needed to secure Apps and attachments.

      Basically if you need to do more than email - your likely going to spend more than you did with BES / Blackberry devices. Our BES licensing was around $30 per user, with some of these other MDM we're looking at $150 per device and often cannot replicate features Blackberry has without installation additional servers or extending out environment to the internet.
  • BlackBerry execs pitch enterprise customers in Orlando.

    Sounds like a much needed working vacation for three Blackberry execs in Orlando.

    What will the future hold for BB? I guess anything could happen but it looks more and more like it will end as: Blackberry, meet cobbler..... Blackberry cobbler.....

    Where's a rim-shot when ya need one.
  • Too late

    We did setup up a BES10 and we were going to slowly migrate people from our old BES to the new one. It was a stupid move for BB in the first place to make everyone go through so much trouble but BYOD is catching on and many people prefer it and are giving the z10's back to us. For our company BB's days are numbered and I have a feeling we're not the only company to make the same decision.
    new gawker
    • BES 10 is more than just BB10

      While users want BYOD and might be giving back BlackBerry 10 devices if your organization is still planning on MDM BES10 is still a viable solution and that is the statement that they are trying to make.

      Even if you have zero BlackBerry devices in your organization BES10 can be the most cost effective full solution. and BES10 is only getting better as more people are phased off of BES5 into BES10
  • Betamax repeated

    Good. Technology but too late to the game. The enterprise crowd is heading for the exits much like the consumer has already done. When companies like Cerebus Mangement are kicking the tires of BlackBerry, you can count on an orderly winding down of the company and selling off of the parts.

    If the company does manage to go private and remain in the enterprise market, they would be well advised to find a proper niche and excel at that.
    • What are you arguing here?

      Cerebus is looking at BlackBerry EXACTLY for the reason people should be looking at BlackBerry Enterprise server. Cerebus sees BES10 as a viable business on its own as do most analysts which means it is a solid move to be trailing BES10 for your iOS and Android users as well as open the door to support BlackBerry for those very few users who still want keyboard devices.

      No matter what happens BES10 is probably the safest bet within the company as it has a viable independent business model that any buyer would be looking to continue and grow
  • Not running Android was a fatal blunder

    The smart choice would have been to switch to android. That way it would have been fully compatible with the droid ecosystem.

    As far as "blackberry features", they could have been rolled into 4 or 5 custom apps which would be unlocked by a ROM key to ensure you'd have to be running genuine Blackberry hardware.

    It would have been so simple, and probably would have meant that a handset would have come to market a full year earlier.
    • Sears and BlockBuster also should have Gone Android

      One does not simply bolt on security and control to Android and make it a vaible Enterprise solution.
      BlackBerry would have fared no better going Android. Android sucks with keyboard devices because the OS doesn't take advantage of what they offer. Android is heavily Google based which has its own infrastructure challenges BlackBerry would have had to deal with the secure it for their Enterprise client base, Compare what Samsung Knox is to traditional Samsung Android devices. they are a full fork and don't have access to the whole ecosystem.

      MAYBE BlackBerry should have gone the dualboot route like Ubuntu Edge was going to try so that users could use BlackBerry10 and dualboot to Android for Android Apps it would have allowed them to move more hardware and as BB10 updates roll out users who were running Android full time would periodically check BB10 to see what is new.

      but now I'm digressing, Android as their only OS was never a good solution
    • Blunder????

      Android has been banned in many enterprises due to the risks and holes in it. That may have changed in the last few months but it's still blocked. Why would a company that stands out for security want involved in that? And why pitch another brand? Where's the profit in that?

      BBs biggest mistake IMHO was concentrating on way too many similar models, with no touch screen and only a half size scree real estate. I loved my Torch and used it for years; now on a z10 pilot and use it instead of my iphone4 then 5c. The iphone is better for personal app use sure.. but when I want a device for work the z10 ticks all my boxes. Secure, one passcode gets me everything; no need for a device passcode and an app password, and it synchs flawlessly unlike some apps.

      Ditch the junk and go full screen touch/slider, AND definitely get the range down to a manageable few models. Nobody is interested in choosing from 20; they just widen it to Android and IOS instead of choosing 1 of 3 (say) Blackberry. Get with it and get back to business!
    • Uhh...

      QNX is a superior operating system to Android. Not to mention that it is 100% fully capable of running Android apps and always has been (BB execs made the stupid decision not to allow them without a debug token, but the latest patch fully opens it up).

      No, their mistake was not buying QNX sooner.
      Jacob VanWagoner
  • Betamax

    Betamax was first to the game. Just saying.
    • That's fun, but..

      In 1996, Apple announced 760 B$ USD to be lost, just saying too.
  • Can you smell that?

    It's the undeniable odor of fear hanging heavy in the air at BB....
  • Conspiracy theory?

    I want to start by saying BlackBerry is solely responsible for their current predicament; they made too many strategic mistakes in the last five years and are paying dearly now.

    BlackBerry's obvious enemies are Apple and Google with their vast ecosystems and huge selection of popular apps that have caused so much trouble for BB.

    Last year the BlackBerry brand was still "cool" but since before the release of BB10 devices reviewers took a "glass half empty" attitude. They decided BB could not be forgiven for losing the lead and anything they did from then on was too little, too late. I have an HTC One and a Z10... I like them both, they work and are both easy to use... the Z10 is easier to hold. But reviewers, bloggers and negative comments have succeeded in damaging the BlackBerry brand: It's just not cool to own any BB device now... even if it's a quality touchscreen phone... without a physical KB.
    One thing is for sure, the tech media is a powerful kingmaker in consumer electronics.

    Is it a stretch to suspect Blackberry has unseen enemies who are waging a propaganda war against it in the media? It's odd that they get so much attention in the press, blogs and comments sections... yet, their marketing budgets are almost non existent...which is a big part of the problem to start with I admit, they just can't afford to spend like Apple.

    Is it a stretch to suspect most governments on the planet don't want average consumers/citizens to have easy access to very secure communications technology?
    Before the iPhone, only businesses and governments used BlackBerrys (and some teenagers who started using BBM)... but after the iPhone, BB started making consumer devices available to the masses. Then terrorists, organized crime, journalists and political activists started using BB phones to hide their communications... which probably increased workloads for surveillance agencies around the world, like India's Centralized Monitoring System (which makes the NSA's PRISM look like a model of restraint). In fact India threatened to shutdown BlackBerry services and forced them to move the servers handling Indian communications from Canada to India.

    Most governments will prefer that BlackBerry exit the consumer market and go back to providing products and services to the corporate and government sectors.
    Stefano G
  • BES 10

    BlackBerry was just name one of the Top 100 Most Innovative Companies by Thomson Reuters.

    BlackBerry recently received DFAS certification, and NATO top secret certification.

    BES 10 sales are up 32% Q3 over Q2. BES 10 is a solid MDM EMM platform for a BYOD environment that includes iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry Secure Work Space for iOS and Android, and BlackBerry Balance for BB10 is the best, and perhaps only, BYOC/EMM solution that does not compromise a user's personal data, but protects it, while fully protecting corporate data.

    BlackBerry isn't going away.

    Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, is a longtime BlackBerry user. Although smartphones running Google's Android mobile operating system compete with BlackBerry, Schmidt said in a 2013 interview that he uses a BlackBerry because he prefers its keyboard
  • BlackBerry OS

    The BlackBerry 10 OS, QNX (pronounced Cue-nix), a global leader in software platforms for in-car electronics, just announced a new software based active noise reduction system for automobiles.

    QNX users include Mercedes-Benz, Garmin, Acura, Audi, BMW, Caterpillar, Chrysler, Cisco, GM, GE, Hyundai, Land Rover, Honeywell, Porsche, and Renault-Samsung.

    BlackBerry isn't going away.