Will BlackBerry 10 revitalize enterprise interest?

Moderated by Zack Whittaker | February 4, 2013 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: On the heels of BlackBerry 10's launch, our mobile experts debate the prospects for this erstwhile business favorite.

Matt Baxter-Reynolds

Matt Baxter-Reynolds

Promising

or

Unlikely

Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller

Best Argument: Unlikely

65%
35%

Audience Favored: Promising (65%)

The Rebuttal

  • Great Debate Moderator

    Mike check

    Are the Matts ready?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    Ready

    I'm prepared.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    Let's go

    I'm prepared too.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    Exciting -- or not

    Let’s open up the debate with personal opinion. BES 10, and BlackBerry 10 devices and platform. Are you excited, or not interested--and why?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    I'm a flip-flopper

    To be honest, I flip-flop on this from one day to the next! What I think they have absolutely right is their philosophy. BlackBerry 10 is a true post-PC proposition, built by an organization that really understands what's happening to the industry and society as we become more and more entangled in ubiquitous computing.

    Where they have challenges is that although it's a great product, they're coming from way behind. The app coverage at launch is very rough around the edges. The pricing is a little too high to be of interest to anyone other than hardcore, moneyed technologists.

    What I think it will do a as a platform is drive the story of enterprise and consumer mobile computing forward in a way that hasn't happened for a good number of years.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    BlackBerry took the year off

    As a smartphone enthusiast and early adopter I am excited for BB 10 and the devices. I've been using a BlackBerry Z10 for nearly a week and am enjoying many aspects of it. BlackBerry has always focused on communications and so far the BlackBerry Hub looks like an optimal way to support communications in today's world of smartphones.

    I was never a die hard BlackBerry user before, primarily because my small marine consulting firm doesn't have a BES and BlackBerry devices are not well supported. I like what I see in BlackBerry Balance, but am unable to take it for a spin myself. I am debating for the Not Likely side of this argument because I think businesses may have already moved away from BlackBerry after they essentially took the year off in 2012.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    Who will buy it?

    BlackBerry (RIM) boomed in the enterprise in the early-mid 2000s, then consumers fell in love with BlackBerrys in the late-2000s. Now, BlackBerrys barely exist in either market. Which audience should BlackBerry be focusing its BlackBerry 10 pitch on, and why?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    A tricky question

    I'm not sure they can win this one. Fighting a battle on two fronts is never a clever idea, yet BlackBerry has to have both an story to tell consumers and a story to tell enterprises.

    The enterprise story is easier to tell (and to sell) as BlackBerry 10 is more of a natural extension of old school BlackBerry devices in enterprise. For consumers of low-end battery devices (think low-cost data and BBM) it's not a very straightforward transition as the devices are too expensive. For consumers who are looking to move to BlackBerry 10 from iPhone or Android, there's that tricky problem in that the app support is a little ropey.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    Focus on the enterprise

    I think BlackBerry should be focusing on the enterprise market because I think their two new devices and the BlackBerry 10 OS currently match other platforms and consumers will discover them in stores, via online articles, and in magazines. However, to be viable for the long term, I think BlackBerry needs to convince businesses to stay with them while also convincing those that may have left or are looking for a provider that BlackBerry is the best enterprise solution.

    More and more consumers are bringing their own devices, but when you look at large corporations and government agencies there are still millions of phones that are issued to employees and this steady business should be targeted. Apple is making some advancements in the enterprise, but I still think BlackBerry is associated with high security and they need to convince enterprise that they are still number one in this regard while now also offering a compelling product that employees will want to use.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    Is the price right?

    Do you think BlackBerry got the pricing right? Where’s the sweet spot between the enterprise and consumer audiences?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    Yes and no

    I think the BlackBerry has the pricing right in the enterprise. For one thing, enterprises aren't that price sensitive when it comes to handsets. For another, a good number of people who are demanding that their IT teams let them move off of old BlackBerry devices and onto iPhone so there's already a "high sticker price" expectation there.

    In the consumer market, it's too expensive.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    Yes

    I think the pricing is right and I do not think they should go any lower or they will take an unnecessary hit on profits. It looks like the Z10 will likely cost $200 with the Q10 probably coming in at $150. The specifications are the same on both, with the exception of the display size, display technology, and physical keyboard. These prices are typical for Android and Windows Phone devices and less than the iPhone.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    Keeping the faithful

    With governments and businesses flocking to adopt Apple’s iPhone, is BlackBerry’s secure messaging service enough to prevent a further exodus?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    A good story to tell

    This is one of these situations where BlackBerry has always had a good story to tell, and that story continues to be good. In a lot of places in the BlackBerry 10 proposition, it's more that it's their game to lose, rather than their game to win. They certainly haven't done anything that would turn off governments or commercial organisations in this regard.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    BlackBerry needs to get the word out

    BlackBerry really needs to promote their security and the flexibility they offer to with BlackBerry Balance. They need to make sure companies understand that many people currently have a work phone and an iPhone and with BB10 devices the employee can have a single phone that excels in both aspects of people's lives, without being a security risk. Even if government agencies and businesses issue iPhones to employees, the employees may still carry another personal phone to keep their personal life separate from their work life. BlackBerry has a solution for this and needs to get the word out if they want to have a chance at success.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    The plan

    RIM’s BlackBerry 10 strategy is a tale of two parts: the smartphones and its operating system platform, and BES 10, which now supports Android devices and iPhones. Does BES 10 have enough to compete with open mobile device management (MDM) alternatives for rival platforms?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    Determine the needs

    It's a relative newcomer into a very mature market. Products like MobileIron, Airwatch, and Good Technology are considered to be the market leaders in this space. In a Gartner magic quadrant from May 2012, Mobile Fusion was too new to be considered.

    It's going to depend what your needs are, and what you're used to. If you have no MDM at all as an organization, Mobile Fusion is probably good enough to manage a mixed fleet without surprises. Enterprises may find it more of a challenge to "downgrade" to Mobile Fusion from more mature products.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    BYOD

    More and more people are bringing their own smartphones to work and I think some of this was driven by the desire to have something more advanced than an older generation BlackBerry. With BES 10 now supporting Android and iOS, a company can roll out BES 10 to support these users and new BB10 smartphone owners. As employees see the functionality of BlackBerry Balance in action with a BES, they may start bringing BB10 devices to the workplace.

    The challenge for BlackBerry is to convince IT departments that BES 10 is worth the price when there are other solutions that may cost less and provide the flexibility companies need.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    Bring your phone to work

    BlackBerry Balance enables users to switch between ‘work’ and ‘home’ lives. While it’s ideal for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) employees, is it enough to coax them away from rival devices? What about IT policy makers and those in control of the IT budget?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    Needs a mandate

    The only way that's going to work is if their employer mandates BlackBerry 10 -- e.g. someone walking into a shop and saying "work says that I'm only allowed a BlackBerry 10". There's no way that a regular smartphone customer will care that much about BlackBerry Balance without that push.

    Of course, there's the flipside to that in someone being told that the phone will separate their work and personal lives only to find out that their employer doesn't run BES10 and the customer has been oversold.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    It's up to IT to decide

    From what I have seen so far, there isn't really anything in BB10 that makes me want to drop another platform and run to it. Actually, the application story is still sad and BlackBerry has a lot of work to do to compete in the application and services space. It is nice to see that Balance looks to be the first system that lets you make a device fully for work or fully for home without any real degradation in either environment.

    I think IT will like the control they get with BlackBerry devices while also being able to tell employees they can switch to a home environment that the employee manages without IT involvement. Larger companies are concerned about security and I think people still associate BlackBerry with security.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    Continued support

    BES 10 will not offer a free Express version. Should RIM continue to support small-medium sized businesses with Express versions?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    BlackBerry, there's a problem

    Yes, I think this is an real misstep by BlackBerry. Although you don't need BES in order to connect a BlackBerry 10 through to the enterprises (you can just use Exchange ActiveSync), you don't get BlackBerry Balance without BES. This means that BlackBerry Balance is only available to organizations who spend money on the back-end infrastructure to support it. BlackBerrry Balance is such a huge selling point over any other platform, it needs to be universal, and that can only be achieved with a free BES tier.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    Can live without it

    I work at a company of 71 employees and we do not have a BES, nor plan to purchase and set one up. We have an Exchange server and small IT staff that works to keep it up and running. I know that we don't care about the Express version and think Blackberry should just focus on BES 10 for companies willing to pay for it as they try to stay competitive in the mobile world.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    One-year contract?

    BlackBerry 10 phones arrive on two year contracts in the U.K., and three year contracts in the U.S. Not wanting to send any subliminal signals, do you not think--at least for the annual IT budget review--RIM should have offered a one-year contract, just in case the company collapses?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    No way

    Nice try. The carriers wouldn't allow it!

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    The confidence factor

    I understand Canada has three-year contracts, but have not heard of these extended contracts in the U.S. Mobile contracts are managed by the carrier and I believe that a business can setup shorter contracts directly through a carrier business account. I don't think BlackBerry should offer shorter contracts because that would be a sign they are not confident of a long future with BlackBerry 10 and beyond.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    Tablet blackout?

    BlackBerry PlayBook wasn't mentioned at the BlackBerry 10 launch. Has the tablet, which failed to launch in the first place, got a future?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    Not dead yet

    My sources have told me this was intentional. It's a case of focus -- taking PlayBook out of the story meant no one was talking about PlayBook.

    PlayBook remains hugely important to BlackBerry. Although they are planning to update the PlayBook OS to harmonize it with BlackBerry 10, no timescales have been announced. In this market, they need both -- it's not enough to have a smartphone offering and no tablet offering.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    No more tablets

    BlackBerry stated that all existing PlayBooks would be upgraded to BlackBerry 10. Even with the upgrade, I don't think people will go out and buy PlayBook devices. The PlayBook is actually one of the best 7 inch tablets, but it never took off and I don't think BlackBerry should stray off course and work on tablets again. They need to succeed with their smartphones and I would like to see them focus on them and BES 10.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    Last question -- too late?

    Maybe this last question makes the whole debate moot, but is BlackBerry 10 simply too late? Has the influx or rivals--notably the iPhone in the enterprise space--carried too many prominent customers over to the other side?

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

    It's not too late, baby

    One thing that BlackBerry has going for them on the enterprise side is that large businesses are typically very conservative. In that sector of the market, it's arguable that iPhone is actually too new to have filtered through. (Of course, some enterprises will be much more responsive.) People that I have spoken to have indicated that there is considerable interest from enterprises looking seriously into BlackBerry 10 pilot projects alongside the existing fleet.

    I don't think it's too late for BlackBerry in that context.

    Matt Baxter-Reynolds

    I am for Promising

    Asking too much

    I think Android and iOS are untouchable for the foreseeable future and the third place platform will have to define success as something like 10-15 percent of the smartphone market. Even though Windows Phone has been out for over two years, Microsoft is not having much impact in the smartphone market. BlackBerry is still in third, but have been on a downward trend for a while and need to turn the tide with BlackBerry 10. Developers are on board with iOS and Android while Windows Phone is gaining with a number of high end applications. BlackBerry has been working hard to bring in developers, but they may be asking too much at this time in the mobile market.

    Some large government agencies and companies have moved to iOS and Apple continues to work hard to attract enterprise customers. It is definitely an uphill climb for BlackBerry and I think it may just be too little, too late.

    Matthew Miller

    I am for Unlikely

  • Great Debate Moderator

    That's all folks

    Thanks to the two Matts for a great debate. Check back tomorrow to see the closing arguments and Thursday for the final verdict. And thank you for joining us. Don't forget to tell us your take on the newest BlackBerry.

    Posted by Zack Whittaker

Talkback

20 comments
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  • welcome back

    The OS is the key, if not the phone itself
    nghianguyen@...
    Reply Vote I'm for Promising
  • Great features tech-pundits are not mentioning about the new Blackberry 10

    Finally, native desktop syncing with Outlook Desktop - you can't even do that on a Windows phone MS is standing on its head, just like Apple and Google, to own me. And also, Wi-Fi calling, which - duh - you also cannot do on a Windows phone!? And FINALLY, an Blackberry 10 offers an ecosystem that does not lay claim to everything that is rightfully mine. I do not want to yield my life, my data or my control to Apple or Google and Blackberry will finally let me have it MY WAY! (PS - As for the number of Apps gripe the pundits whine about, I can do without 2,000 different FART apps, thank you. Just give me a few dozen competently written basic apps and I'll be happy).

    Welcome back, Blackberry. It will be great to have a thoughtful, professional, non-intrusive tech partner again.

    JL
    suncomjohn
    Reply 4 Votes I'm for Promising
    • The BlackBerry App World has always been ...

      ... more costly and more difficulty to access than anyone elses' app store. Do you really think that will change?
      M Wagner
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
  • Read the Vodafone reviews

    http://shop.vodafone.co.uk/shop/mobile-phone/blackberry-z10-black-paym?readReviews=true
    bud carlos
    Reply Vote I'm for Promising
  • Maybe - TWO years ago!

    Now, its 2013. BES customers whose staff are entrenched in BYOD have seen BES participation drop 90%. MS Exchange ActiveSync has replaced BES for those BYOD employees and, while perhaps not as secure as BES, ActiveSync does not carry with it a premium data charge through your cellular carrier.

    For end-users, the good news about BlackBerry 10 is that it works with ActiveSync. No more extra data fees. For BlackBerry (formerly RIM), the bad news about BlackBerry 10 is that it does not require BES to be fully functional!

    The result:

    Regardless of the success of the BlackBerry 10 handset, BlackBerry is likely to lose most of its BES licensees since ActiveSync is "just as good as" BES 10.

    In 2004, there was no competition for RIM. In 2013, BlackBerry faces competition on every corner - almost all of those competitive devices work with Exchange ActiveSync.

    It seems to me that, while BlackBerry (the company) is "doing the right thing" - it is too little too late. In 2011, they still had a chance. Today, I'm not so sure.
    M Wagner
    Reply 2 Votes I'm for Unlikely
    • Half truths

      How many times does it have to be said - BB10 fully supports ActiveSync. You don't need to use BES 10 and there is no different data plan that is needed for Blackberry devices. NONE - it's gone. Removed. So if your company has exposed Exchange ActiveSync your Blackberry 10 device will sync just like any other device.

      The other side of this is not every company wille expose EAS as it has security concerns and doesn't provide a fraction of what a MDM solution will. I think what's really occuring is companies are replacing BES or doing a plus one model alongside BES to better manage mobile devices. This is why solutions like Good Technology are seeing records growth as they can provide a corporate "container" on a host of device that seperate corporate data and personal. There are a slew of other MDM provides as well, most offering similar functionality as their sync protocol is EAS based. Good however works almost exactly like BES (NOC, PUSH, Extra data plan etc) so go figure.

      The offset of this is BYOD is not as appealing to the employee now because companies are getting more formal around personal device usage and management. It was great to have an iPhone that wasn't as restricted as a traditional Blackberry but now with MDM controls you can almost equal that. This makes an employee question how much do they compromise for this "perk". This BYOD costs being pushed onto the employee many are choosing to accept the corporate provided option or just not bother.

      After using BB10 and BES 10 for a month now, outside of consumer based Apps there is NOTHING one can say Blackberry cannot provide in a business justfication. The hardware is comparable, the screen is beautiful, the browser is fast and key enterprise Apps are already supported.
      MobileAdmin
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • iOS 6.1 or BB 10

    I just upgraded from a Storm2 to a Torch 9850 last July. I signed a two year contract. Then I received an iPad 4 for Christmas. My whole family has iPhone4/4s. With the exposure to iOS with the iPad and app selection versus BB OS 7.1 and selection of apps - BlackBerry 10 must bring it forward with apps. I will be waiting until next Christmas before I upgrade (unsubsidized) to either an iPhone 5s/6 or the BlackBerry Z10. BlackBerry 10 sounds like it really brings what it needs to and then some. I hope the tide will turn in favor of BlackBerry and if it does I will follow, but if support is slow or BlackBerry does not gain the needed traction I will be switching to the next iPhone. -Carlisle Bean
    Lrdiscovery2000
    Reply 2 Votes I'm for Promising
  • I'm for unlikely.

    My company has pushed out BlackBerries to our workforce for years. Now we're letting people choose from a selection of devices, and no one wants a Blackberry. It's iPhones, Android devices, and WP8. BlkackBerry has lost mindshare and most people see it as old tech. Maybe the new OS and devices can change that but I think it's too late.
    mikedees
    Reply Vote I'm for Unlikely
    • Why?

      Why would it be too late? The mindshare will come back when they start advertising again.
      Look at the qualities of each OS. The security that you only get with BlackBerry (FIPS certification), for instance. Ask yourself if you want to do banking on a phone that is any less secure than you have to.
      Then look at the User Experience. The apps selection can only get better as developers see that it has been accepted by the buying public and they can make money there too.
      Susan Antony
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • End users don't always make the most sound choice

        It isn't the job or priority of most end users to make the choice for best security. If the IT company allows users to pick a device from an approved list then most users will choose what appeals to them on a personal level and not a logical level.

        Any phone can deliver email and most don't know, let alone care about certifications as long as the company approves the device for use.

        They will most likely choose what appears to be the cool new hotness or has their favorite apps.
        Emacho
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided