Why one firm has just ordered 10,000 BlackBerry handsets

Why one firm has just ordered 10,000 BlackBerry handsets

Summary: Europe's second largest car maker discusses why it has chosen to stick with BlackBerry.

TOPICS: Mobility

BlackBerry rarely makes headlines for positive reasons these days.

Its latest range of handsets designed to compete with iPhone and Android phones failed to sell in the expected numbers and led to the company recording a $965m operating loss in the three months to August this year, and analyst Gartner has warned BlackBerry customers to consider alternatives.

But despite these difficulties, there are signs that major customers are sticking with the Canadian handset maker. Europe's second largest car manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen is to provide 10,000 Z10 smartphones to staff in France and Spain and is moving to the latest version of BlackBerry's mobile management system, BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10.

Why has the company chosen BlackBerry? Partly it is down to the fact that the company is already a BlackBerry shop, running a fleet of BlackBerry Curve and Bold devices on BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.2, so it will not have to invest the cost and time of starting from scratch when setting up its infrastructure to manage the Z10s.

"We have no diversity, no iOS and no Android, and we do not want to go into this technology because it's costly," said Eric Marchand, head of telecom at PSA Peugeot Citroen told ZDNet.

However a key reason for choosing BlackBerry, said Marchand, is a clear view of the future development of the BlackBerry hardware and software, which he said isn't available for other mobile platforms.

"For iOS you have no roadmap. That's not the case with BlackBerry. We have an 18 month perspective with them and they are pretty reliable with their roadmap," he said.

"We have to schedule a two year project and that's not possible with Android or iOS because there's no real roadmap in terms of mobile."

In spite of BlackBerry's recent operating losses and the disappointing sales of its recent BlackBerry OS 10 handsets Marchand said he remains confident BlackBerry's portfolio of services is broad enough to guarantee its future.

"We believe that BlackBerry is not only devices but also provides MDM (mobile device management) and worldwide infrastructure that is very consistent," he said.

"We do not feel in the very short term we will have trouble with BlackBerry because of the value of this infrastructure."

Peugeot Citroen plans to deploy the Z10s between March and June next year to staff who work outside the office. As well as providing access to Microsoft Exchange mail, calendar and contacts, the handsets be able to connect to a web portal offering a suite of corporate apps, covering manufacturing, retail and general corporate services.

Marchand said that while not all of these web applications have an interface that suits the size of screen found on a mobile phone, these apps would be easier to use on the new touchscreen of the Z10.

"With the new tactile approach and the new screen we think it's easier to work with non-mobile designed applications compared to on older solutions [handsets]."

While there are obvious advantages of sticking with BES to manage its fleet of phones, for example "all the development we have done for the BlackBerry APIs are very easy to migrate from 5 to 10" said Marchand, the upgrade is not necessarily straightforward.

"Moving from 5 to 10 we have to build a brand new infrastructure for that because it's really a very different platform," he said. Part of the work comes from catering for the broader range of controls available in BES 10, for example over data roaming.

"We are going to run the two infrastructure in parallel for one year and a half to be really sure we finish the migration of the BlackBerry 7 devices to BlackBerry 10."

From the end of 2014 staff will be able to use the BlackBerry handsets to tether mobile internet connections to laptops and tablets.

PSA refreshes its handsets every two years and Marchand says he anticipates that the next fleet of handsets will also be BlackBerrys.

Topic: Mobility


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • LOL - BYOD as long as its BlackBerry.

    :-) Clearly they are not doing BYOD and nobody is telling them they should.
    • Clearly you have not a clue

      I have a Z10 and I know other people people who have just bought a Z10 and they are very happy with it.

      So you are clueless!
      • talk about clueless, thats you and with extreme irony deficency

    • Do you know what BYOD stands for?

      Read the deal.... The company are buying the handsets and running it on their infrastructure. Nobody is asking for users to Bring Your Own Device and support the hassle of getting them to work and the management costs, and the asociated secure apps. I see both... BB is far easier to maintain and far easier to recover from a client perspective. One BES, one activation, job done ! No hassle; no cost to the user; no data leakage; full control of the device..... you can't do that so easily, or so cheaply, with MDM solutions (which are also resource hungry in terms of staff, servers, and inter-relationships between the secure apps.

      Maybe you're more familiar with the old half screen non-touch junk BB that's still around. If so go and have a look at the new stuff with its work profile in parallel with user profile. One device; two secure profiles. Get with it!
  • Wow...

    You have an 18 month perspective with them. Which version of that plan do you have? Were not for sale, were for sale, we now have a new CEO, and were not for sale. Oh now we are concentrating on our core.. Clearly this guy got some type of sweet heart deal, and I'll bet that bberry is throwing in some custom development.

    Here is my counter argument in no certain order
    1) iPhones have the who apple ecosystem behind it. iTunes(Music, movies, tv, and well apple). And are tied into all of the MDM tools and soon even BES.
    2) Android - Multiple players(if one dies the others pick up the pieces). Google gets revenue from skimming what it is that your doing(Searches, apps, etc).
    3) Windows Phones - You have MS behind it. Which wants to succeed in the market because they see the PC being a smaller piece of the pie and portable devices growing.

    No who you don't see with a alternative reason for the success of the portable device? BBerry! No who you don't see with deep pockets behind the phone BBerry!

    While I used to love my blackberry. I don't see a play where more then 3 really exist in any real numbers. That's why unless there is another game changer that rises out of no where. I see these 3 being 98% of the marketshare(especially in business).
    • Some counterpoints

      No doubt Blackberry is providing a good deal. Those Z10 were likely little to no cost and their MDM license was likely lower cost than any other MDM. So fault the guy for taking the offer? Apple doesn't give any discount.

      1. A CONSUMER ecosystem. We have iTunes disabled on our deployed iOS devices. Any App employees need we will deliver with our MDM - no credit card required. If employees want to use consumer Apps - buy their own iOS device and join our BYOD program. We do not wish for employees to purchase music and movies (on the corporate dime).

      2. Where do you get support for Android? Is there a support #? Same with Apple. They share nothing and spring changes on you as they see fit. The point was Blackberry provided a enterprise roadmap for BES and have pretty much stayed to it for feature deployment.

      3. Windows Phone is dead for enterprise. We have support for as our MDM supports it. Thus far - 4 people (out of 24k). Unless you see similar large scale deployments for Windows Phone (have yet to see one, while Blackberry has had many) Windows Phone will not see market share. Their in 3rd place now due to volume of low cost 520's in Europe. I have never seen one used my anyone in my travels.

      It's good to see Blackberry get their communication and marketing in order. Lack of owning this has caused them great harm from the blog world and those that wish them out of the market.
      • Windows Phone for Enterprise

        The one thing Windows Phone is lacking is VPN client support. Huge oversight by the Windows Phone team. It has MS Office, Exchange email support, .Net programming model, and more. Seems to be setup great for business....then wait...where is VPN support? VPN support must come with Windows Phone 8.1. I heard it will, but I want to see it.
        Sean Foley
        • But terrible email support on WP

          Yes, Windows Phone has EAS email capability, but you can't attach more than one file to an email! How does that work for any enterprise user?

            I can attach more than one file to an email, it works for any enterprise user since the latest update and that wp8.1 comes, blackberry is officially dead horse in the enterprise only beating Apple iOS. so please shut up. MS enterprise kills all Blackberry enterprise offerings
          • no

            Consumer windows phones cannot attach even a single document. They can only attach links to files on SkyDrive (so you actually have to upload the file you want onto SkyDrive before you can even send the fake attachment). Horrible.

            If they can attach actual documents now then is very very new.

            GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT, DO SOME RESEARCH INFO BEFORE YOU SPROUT SHIT. THANKS, EVEN Sean Foley has a windows phone and you don't. So you cant speak for windows phone.
          • Your Mistaken

            Your mistaken or you haven't used a Win Phone. Of course it support multiple email attachments.
            Sean Foley
      • THIS ^

        I agree with you on all counts. BTW, who do you work for that they have 24,000 handsets deployed? Just wondering...
      • Sorry that comment is so last decade!!!!! its not 2003 anymore!!!

        Blackberry was once, not now, blackberry is officially dead horse in the enterprise only beating Apple iOS. so please shut up. MS has been in enterprise for years and still is in the enterprise, has been in the enterprise in mobile since 2000, 13 years since the dawn of the days of pocket pcs and windows mobile 2003's MS enterprise kills all Blackberry enterprise offerings. Blackberry is dying like a beaten up horse. don't tell us its coming back, just because its ordered by one big car company for 10,000 employees. Windows Phone already beaten Blackberry poor marketshare and will get marketshare in the next few years, don't tell me that windows phone is dead for enterprise, for Microsoft infrastructure like Lync, SharePoint, OneNote, Exchange, Company Hub and SkyDrive - that connects to all windows enterprise OS devices and windows embedded devices in enterprise deployments, that Blackberry don't offer and the most secure mobile OS in the world after blackberry, windows phone is not gaing market share that's so 2010, today is a different landscape, a lot of companies replacing blackberries with windows phones and , , I have seen people used one mostly in Europe, you sir are in America the land of crappy iphones. so don't tell me crap. For example since 2012 a year, a lot of companies and governments and organizations around the globe have been switching to windows phone enterprise for deployment over blackberry, for example for a list of companies around the world, I wont list all of them, a shopping retailer or restaurant?? Sara Lee, London Estate Agent Foxtons, a German appliance manufacturer Miele, Shell Brazil, Bridgestone Australia, Gi Group, Westminster City Council UK, US government approve WP8 enterprise, UK too and other countries and Energizer batteries company and others and plus with a lot of penetration of enterprise and business apps on the windows phone 10x more than blackberry has now and more coming next year, leaving blackberry behind. Once WP8.1 is release with more enterprise improvements, such as VPN, ELS TLP, new improved Office update and other things and enterprise closer connectivity with Microsoft best enterprise offerings and windows 8.x devices, enterprise, tablets and pcs and phones and with a rapid growing trend of phablets devices, that blackberry company is blind to see and slow to react. Blackberry is done and dust.
        • Wow...

          Ever heard of paragraphs?
          Hallowed are the Ori
        • This is complete trash....dont take youranger outon a company

          First if BES10 is cross platform and gives you the best in security and also versatility so even if the market share * blackberry falls the installed base of BES10 is large...btw most windows phone are low end...sorry
          Joshua Krama
          • Windows Phone 8

            Joshua Krama, "most windows phone are low end"

            That is twaddle. Low cost, not low end.
        • With Passion

          Talk about beating a dead horse.
          BTW, TBBen's Post is a classical case of misplaced aggression.
          And Loverock doesn't hold a candle to this guy. Some people might actually be able to believe this guy.
          That is if they didn't do their own thinking and research. Something a lot more of us need to do on various issues.
    • re: 1) iPhones have the who apple ecosystem behind it. iTunes(Music, movies

      Hilarious. What employer in their right mind would choose a workplace device geared towards music, movies and tv for their staff?.

      And your other 2 counterpoints have nothing related to workplace productivity or reducing costs.

      ...you must be American, no concept of productivity?
      • SRSLY?

        LOL I agree with you re: the iTunes ecosystem...but I scoff at your comment regarding Americans having no concept of productivity...you do realize that most of the great technological achievements of the last 20 years all came out of the US? But I can guarantee you it wasn't the result of being UN-productive. What Non-US company has even created a widely used OS? Other than China? Apple? American...Microsoft? American...Google? American...shall I continue? What country are you from? What great achievements has your country accomplished since it must be so much more productive than the US? Do you need ice for that burn?