Microsoft should buy BlackBerry. There, I said it

Microsoft should buy BlackBerry. There, I said it

Summary: There's an elephant in the room and no one's talking about it: Microsoft bought Nokia but it should have bought BlackBerry. It's not too late to take action.


I'm not the only one who thinks so. Google the phrase, "Microsoft should buy BlackBerry". You'll see a lot of hits appear. And with good reason too—Microsoft should buy BlackBerry. It's a bargain of a deal and the technology is really good—so good that the government uses it. A lot of highly secure and data sensitive businesses use it: healthcare, security consultants, banks, and stock brokers. Why should Microsoft buy BlackBerry? There are plenty of good reasons but the best one is obvious: security.

It's no secret that security issues plague Android, Windows phones, and even iPhones but have you heard of any BlackBerry compromises? OK, there have been one or two over the past few years but nothing like their competitors.

So, if BlackBerry is so darn great, why is it available at a bargain price and yet no one seems to want it, especially consumers?

BlackBerry (fka RIM) had a few significant and unfortunate outages over the years and those outages left a lot of users cold. I was one of them. I loved my BlackBerry. To me, it was the best phone ever. No, it didn't have a lot of bells and whistles but it did what I needed for it to do: make phone calls, receive phone calls, receive alerts, respond to alerts, receive email, work with email, connect to the Internet, and stay secure while doing it all.

BlackBerry fell out of favor because of the outages and its visual appeal seemed to lag behind the iPhone. The iPhone was prettier and sleeker than my wide BlackBerry with the telescoping antenna. Then Android devices hit the market. It was one of those better mousetrap situations for BlackBerry. Although BlackBerry was the better mousetrap, its popularity waned due in part to its lack of aesthetic appeal. Envious BlackBerry users saw the cool swipey stuff and the ever-growing App Store and it was just too much for them. They'd rather switch than fight.

BlackBerry reminds me of another superior product that failed due to its lack of mass appeal and lack of marketing mojo: OS/2. Don't laugh. OS/2 was an awesome operating system that was far superior to its only real competitor at the time: Windows 3.x. I don't want to digress into a litany of defense of OS/2 but if you know anything about OS/2, you know that I'm right.

BlackBerry could help instill Microsoft into the Enterprise as a mobile provider. Right now, there is a mix of Windows phones, Android, and probably a minority of iPhones in corporate use. It seems that Apple sweeps consumer tech but not necessarily corporate tech. 

Businesses trust Microsoft. If you're an anti-Microsoft person, you can argue that point but I'm sorry but you're wrong. Businesses trust Microsoft because Microsoft is responsible. Who can you call when your Android device goes on the blink or when its security is compromised? The carrier? Nope. The device manufacturer? Maybe. Chances are good that you won't get very far either way.

Microsoft develops and supports the operating system. If there's a security breach, there's only one direction that you can point your finger to: Microsoft. They'll fix it too. And they don't rely on a community of disconnected but benevolent programmers to fix something.

Don't get me wrong. I think that open source or free software is great. I love Linux. I love Apache. I love I love all things open source, free, GNU, etc. But, I'm also realistic. The reality is that corporations like Microsoft. You can't change that with any amount of foot-stomping, hand waving, or Guy Fawkes mask wearing. You'll never convince big companies that they should entrust their 99.999 percent uptime systems to anything but something that's corporate backed.

Red Hat has made inroads into the corporate world. SUSE has made some as well. But they're backed by corporations too. You'll find few, if any, big companies running Debian on mission-critical workloads. And before you kill the messenger, I love Debian. I love Ubuntu, which does have corporate support too, although for some reason, it hasn't really taken hold to a large extent in the U.S.

BlackBerry has government approval. It has the healthcare industry. It enjoys a large portion of the banking industry. It also is the mobile platform of choice for anyone who needs secure communications. Ask President Obama what kind of mobile device he uses. Well, of course it's a BlackBerry, otherwise it wouldn't be significant to mention it here. 

Many analysts besides myself have suggested that BlackBerry would be a smart purchase for Microsoft. They all have different reasons but the only meaningful one to me is to acquire the technology for the secure platform. Microsoft could use the technology, make the BlackBerry attractive again, and create a mobile device desired by businesses. They would have almost no legitimate competition in that realm.

BlackBerry's Security, Microsoft's interface, and a well-oiled marketing machine is just what the new CEO should order for the new Microberry device. Everyone will want one. It doesn't yet exist and I want one. President Obama will want one or two. How can you go wrong in that company?

What do you think? Should Microsoft buy BlackBerry? Or should BlackBerry just be buried? Talk back and let me know.

Related Stories:

Topics: BlackBerry, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Mobility, Security


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • Regulators

    Microsoft has over 40 thousands patents and I don't think that regulators will approve this hypothetical deal.
    • Microsoft would ruin it

      Just like Microsoft ruined Nokia, it would ruin Blackberry (RIM) if it got its hands on it.

      The only way for a new player to break into the market is to be open-source (GPL) and very open. Being open-source would generate an ecosystem of dedicated programmers. It would encourage a coalition of corporations to support it (not just one). It would also help quell fears of there being a back door. Emerging operating systems like Sailfish OS, Tizen, Firefox OS and Ubuntu Phone have a chance.

      Microsoft has a corporate attitude that will doom any smartphone platform that it gets.
      • Nothing left of Blackberry to ruin

        Blackberry fell behind, and there is so little left of it to interest Microsoft after they've acquired Nokia.

        Nobody has ruined Nokia. They have rebooted and are currently building the best smartphones in the world, and market share numbers are trending in the right direction. Their low-end phones put them in fantastic position to fight for the next billion cell phone users. Microsoft *could* screw Nokia up in the future, and there is an even chance they will if they don't realize that Nokia knows how to sell products to consumers and Microsoft doesn't have the first clue. Ballmer almost certainly would have screwed Nokia up. By he's gone. We'll see who's up next.

        The best work Microsoft has done in the past 3 years has been in the smartphone arena. They have gone from nothing to solid third place, displacing Blackberry. It's incredibly hard being third mover in a market. Having a "corporate attitude" means want to make a profit, which you can only do by selling valuable products at prices that are higher than your costs. Google, Samsung and Apple are equally corporate (don't believe their press clippings), and they are kicking butt. Being "corporate" is not a problem. Being ignorant of how to market products to consumers is a huge problem. Microsoft needs to realize it has this problem and use the Nokia acquisition to remedy it.
      • And you just appear to have the attitude

        that anything Microsoft related will always be commented on in the negative.

        As for your open source idea, it is a nice dream, but in the end just a dream that will remain so for years to come.
        John Zern
      • open source?

        You want to dedicate an open source community of hobbyist programmers to develop and MAINTAIN a life-dependent mission critical system?

        Good luck to you there....

        But, I dont think Boeing will go that route to develop advanced avionics system that monitors thier jetliners in real-time and proactively detect potential faults while the plane is at 33,000 feet above the pacific ocean.
        • But they do use Linux systems to design it.

          I think that counts as "mission critical".

          And It doesn't look like they use Windows for avionics either.
          • I never referred to Windows actually....

            My point was about open source hobbist programmers as distinct from Red Hat Linux development which is backed by a corporation (read the original author's article above).

            For a system to succesfully support mission critical environment, it has to be well MAINTAINED by a trusted and recognized source in addition to being reliable.

            My comment is not able Linux vs. Windows... We have had enough of that comparison for our own good.

            No matter how reliable a system is, if it is not supported by a reliable and trusted vendor, then it's reliability is suspect.
        • Int Space Station switches from Windows to Linux, for improved reliability

          Switching to open source for improved reliability is not new.
          Tim Jordan
          • Windows is not anything that you want to depend on

            It is not a secret that Open Source is more reliable than Windows. Anyone cad look at the Wikipedia article "List of Linux adopters" and you will see The United States Department of Defense as well as a who's who list of highly reliable systems.
            Tim Jordan
          • It isn't reliability

            It's cheaper and they have more control. If you look at Windows server uptime statistics vs linux there's not that much difference and most of the difference is likely the fact that you need to reboot, after patching, more often than Linux.

            And you are off topic
          • Windows XP

            Yes, the computers running Windows XP where replaced by Linux flavours from Redhat.
            That is a 12-year old DESKTOP OS replaced by Linux.

            ...and also what is not new is that it has been proved that Windows 2003 is more reliable than Redhat Linux Enterprise server ( )

            Talk about looking for and quoting sources from the wider Internet (as opposed to peer reviewed articles) to support ones point....
          • *Windows Server 2003

            *Windows Server 2003
          • Off topic

            You are off topic
        • I'd be very surprised if Boeing doesn't use Linux to design and ...

          ... engineer it's aircraft (using a professionally supported Linux infrastructure) but the day-to-day operation of its fleet is undoubtedly using Windows (or mainframe) servers.
          M Wagner
      • You Get My Vote...

        For the most insipid and puerile comment of this discussion.
      • Open-source favors innovation at the expense of profits.

        With no profit motive, there is no opportunity for standards to develop because developers cannot make enough money on the product to gain widespread acceptance. Linux thrives in the research and server machine room but not on the desktop for precisely this reason. Because on the large scale taking care of Linux requires a large support infrastructure and people to take care of it.
        M Wagner
      • Vbitrate should do his homework

        "Microsoft runied Nokia." Ha ha ha, you're an idiot.
        Margaret Thelma
        • Is that the best you could do Margaret

          call someone an idiot? Based on what did you call someone you don't know an idiot? Now pretend that others care while you explain yourself. Maybe you know more and have the right to either be called an idiot or call someone one.
  • Ken, you can just go straight to ----

    MICROSOFT. Because if you were to actually become CEO of MS, things might get a lot better for the company I now think of as MACRORUFFIAN.

    Paul B. Wordman
    • @Paul B. Wordman

      I would do it and be glad to do it. It would be a new Microsoft: Agile, friendly, cooperative, SaaSy, and rebooted. We would take Microsoft back to its roots and take great care of our consumers and business customers. We would take on a Rackspace type of support stance: Fanatical support.
      We would focus on our strengths not our weaknesses. We would simplify our licensing. We would be your Engineering and consulting arm. We would remove the boundaries and roadblocks for companies wanting to build around us. That's where I would go today.