Microsoft should buy BlackBerry. There, I said it

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.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

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 OpenOffice.org. 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.

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