BlackBerry to be saved by governments?

BlackBerry to be saved by governments?

Summary: Will governments around the world give BlackBerry the time it needs to re-invent itself for the new smartphone world?

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Will governments around the world give BlackBerry the time it needs to re-invent itself for the new smartphone world?

This week, we heard from The Australian that IBM is going to stop activating new BlackBerry services for its fleet, in what must be a terrible blow to the smartphone maker. BlackBerry has traditionally aimed its devices at the kind of business culture that IBM exudes.

IBM seemed to say that the bring-your-own-device trend among employees was behind the move, as well as a desire to use Lotus Notes Traveller on phones. Its statement on the matter to ZDNet Australia read:

IBM continues to upgrade collaboration technologies, and employees are able to use a range of mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, which are supported by Lotus Notes Traveler — an IBM solution for real-time access to email and calendar.

I had a bit of a chuckle at that, thinking about the irony of ditching a shrinking company in order to operate shrinking Lotus. However, jokes aside, it seems that while the consumerisation of IT is hitting hard, BlackBerry's hard-nosed business image is biting it in the backside.

After all, if you could bring any phone into work, would you choose a BlackBerry?

Of course, there are always going to be some businesses that will want what BlackBerry uniquely has to offer. For example, the Australian Government is still evaluating Apple's iOS for use with its Wi-Fi networks, despite having started the evaluation early last year.

There has been progress. In July last year, the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) released a guide for government iOS users and administrators that sets down a raft of measures to shore up the security of the Apple platform, while saying that iDevices like iPhone and iPad still weren't suitable for handling information classified above "In-Confidence". Meanwhile, BlackBerry remains the device of choice for government workers.

As the DSD pointed out to ZDNet Australia today, "evaluations take time to complete to ensure the integrity of the product meets the specific security requirements of the Australian Government".

This would be the same for almost any government, I would think. So, while BlackBerry is losing ground with consumerised enterprise, government will be a linchpin, and is likely to remain so for a reasonable time. Will this give BlackBerry enough breathing space to rise like the phoenix from the ashes? Only time will tell.

Topics: BlackBerry, Government, Government AU, IBM, Mobility

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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3 comments
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  • At my workplace the bosses and union people all use Blackberry Boldds-nothing else.
    andrew1953-c7a6a
    • They're only using them because the licencing and BES services are in place, bought and paid for. With active sync, security being what it is Blackberry are all but dead in the water. Hence the need to be saved.

      Anyone supporting blackberrys will know how painful they are - and in comparison to other smart phones.

      Blackberrys are horrible, horrible phones.
      PipBoy78
      • I work for a major oil and gas engineering firm in Western Australia. We have a growing fleet of Blackberries and we are in the final stages of setting up a Mobile Iron solution to allow our users to bring in BYO smartphones. Being in IT and a tester of new devices i currently have an iphone, samsung galaxy 2 (android) and a blackberry bold 9900. They are all useful and have pro's and cons. My blackberry is handy for work email and BBM. I personally wouldnt say it would be my first choice as a personal device but when it comes to business use I cant fault it. Blackberry has always been a business orientated device as the security RIM can offer to corporations is a big plus. In terms of supporting the device it can be frustrating at times however the biggest educational point i always state to my users is "If in doubt take the battery out". I find that every now and then our blackberries will stop synching email when they havent been restarted in over a month. Apart from that I support our business growing our blackberry fleet as it meets all of our corporate security needs without the added hassle of 3rd party software to protect our corporate data.
        beenee16