Will BlackBerry BES support Windows Phone? And when?

Will BlackBerry BES support Windows Phone? And when?

Summary: BlackBerry might be expanding its multi-platform strategy in the enterprise to include Windows Phone.

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Windows Phone hasn't made a serious dent in the enterprise (yet), but BlackBerry CEO John Chen has suggested his company may nonetheless support Microsoft's mobile OS.

In a recent interview with BlackBerry enthusiast site Crackberry, the recently appointed CEO hinted that BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 support for Windows Phone could be in the works.

Talking about theoretical and unreleased versions of BES — "BES 11, 12, 13, 14" — and how BlackBerry would use security to reclaim lost ground in the enterprise market, Chen discussed how the company intends to work with enterprises' iPhone, Android and even Windows Phone rollouts.

"I could put a sales team on Wall Street. I know how to do this up and down Wall Street... we will go in and tell them why BES is the best thing for them, and go through the roadmap, the offerings, and all that good stuff. We're going to protect their investment in iPhone, and Android, and everywhere else, even with Windows Phones," Chen is quoted as saying.

If BlackBerry does go down this path, it would mark a fairly significant shift in its stance on non-BlackBerry platforms so far. To date, BlackBerry has excluded Windows Phone support from its consumer and enterprise products.

Despite Windows Phone's recent growth in some markets, the platform didn't make the cut for BlackBerry's new multi-platform BBM apps, and nor did it for Secure Work Space — the device management service for iOS and Android that launched mid-last year as part of BES 10. 

Secure Work Space offered similar controls to Balance, compartmentalising data on Android and iOS devices to keep corporate information — including calendars, events, email and apps — distinct from an employee's personal data held on the same device.

Back then Nokia was still trying to find its feet with Windows Phone, which hadn't really gained a presence in the enterprise. Now it has surpassed BlackBerry's handset marketshare in the US and Europe, and while Windows Phone remains a minor presence compared with iOS and Android, Microsoft — which should finalise its purchase of Nokia's devices business this quarter — is expected to plough more resources into making Windows Phone enterprise-ready this year with the release an enterprise feature pack, extended support cycles and VPN support. 

A spokesperson for BlackBerry told ZDNet: "BlackBerry intends to support all devices, including Windows. At this time, we have not publicly confirmed availability."

Topics: Mobile OS, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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8 comments
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  • No API

    Windows Phone has the least amount of API for MDM to tap into, hopefully that changes this spring with the next big update and much needed Enterprise functionality get released.

    All that said - Windows Phone is seeing no enterprise adoption. Our current MDM supports it and we have 3 users (out of thousands). At the same time our Blackberry 10 population is growing month over month.

    I don't think if we made Windows Phone a corporate option it would change the adoption. People just don't like the UI.
    MobileAdmin
    • I've heard the opposite about the UI.

      From what I've read and through real-life experience, people like the WP8 UI.

      It's the lack of applications that turn away the savvy crowd, and it's the price that scares away the normal people.
      ForeverCookie
      • PRICE?

        NOKIA 521 is the best cheap and reliable phone on the planet right now.
        Mac_Win
  • They will but Windows should give too

    BB will bring support over I bet, as BB users would unlikely switch from BB10 to Windows phones, it would be such a huge downgrade. Windows however might prove to be better competition for Apple and Google if it could be adopted as an enterprise option over Apple and Google. The real task that will help Windows over anyone is if business could adopt Windows 8, and no they won't.

    Also, BB might move on it if some of the other players would stop preventing their applications from being ported over to BB, namely Netflix. mind you BB10 users just side load the app on. One of the nicest features for a smart phone, having install options instead of one location only. If the smart phone restricts file store access, installations and does not provide user security at a business level, I'd question how "smart" of a phone it really is. Microsoft sees this and BB10 is already there.
    Greggore
  • Too late.

    Support for WP8 doesn't matter. Enterprise are unplugging BES and moving on. My last one was, my current one is and so are others where consultnig friends are working. The enterprise no longer cares about Blackberry (just like consumers).
    Skippy99
    • I have the luxury of choice...

      BES, bes10, and MobileIron plus a multitude of secure servers to replicate bes functionality. Guess what..... I love my z10 and Dar prefer supporting this range as opposed to the IOS stuff

      Are you aware bes10 devices let you edit passworded office docs etc. I is can't even open them!!!! It's time some of you guys wakened up and looked at the merits of all the options for business especially.
      johnmckay
  • It will be a smart move if they do support Windows Phone

    At this moment, I don't believe BlackBerry is in a position to be picky. They should open all their options. While Windows phone is not storming the sales chart, it is growing. One thing that Windows have over Android and Apple iOS is the a big chunk of business runs on Windows computer. The opportunity to a corporation to run only 1 management server makes it less costly and more secure. Instead of a couple or more management system on their server, it makes more sense to have only one to deal with. Maybe that is what Microsoft call just one.
    jazzy2945
  • BES Will add windows phone support

    BlackBerry will add WP support to BES, they really have no choice. The fact is that if companies do want to embrace BYOD they need to support all the mainstream products. No matter what I might think of WP and what others might think of BB10, any BYOD platform must support all the popular platforms or this will become a major stumbling block when trying to sell into enterprises.

    What John Chen understands, that Thorsten Heins didn't, is that BlackBerry is no longer in a position to dictate to enterprises as they had previously been in a position to do. If you look at what Chen did at Sybase, he focused on their strengths and worked to fit those strength to suit the market. Adding WP support to BES fits his formula.
    crispyoz