BlackBerry to increase focus on Malaysian enterprises

  • Admits it has been 'passive' in growing enterprise space
  • Financial results show yet another quarter in decline
BlackBerry to increase focus on Malaysian enterprises
BLACKBERRY Ltd, a loss-making smartphone maker, has a plan to grow in the Malaysian market, and that is to focus more on growing its enterprise business.

According to BlackBerry Malaysia managing director Ben Quirin (pic), the company has been rather “passive” and “reactive” when it comes to growing the enterprise space.

“We have to become a lot more active when it comes to engaging with the enterprise segment. Today, we haven’t done that. The focus was more on the consumer -- I mean, that’s where we saw a significant part of our business growth,” he added.

Its recently released full-year financial results showed that BlackBerry is still struggling to get back on track. Its group revenue suffered a decline over the past three quarters. For the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 1, 2014, it registered revenue of US$976 million, representing a 63.5% decline versus the same quarter a year ago.

The decline in revenue was across all regions, including Asia Pacific which saw fourth quarter revenue decline to US$140 million versus US$385 million the same period a year ago.

In order to grow the enterprise segment, Quirin, who took on the Malaysia managing director post last October, said that the company would need to beef up its software platform.

“My view is an enterprise customer is a consumer at the end of the day. Among things that we need to be spending a lot more time on is building the software platform. That’s where we need to be able to support our customers.

“There’s a journey we need to take, and the work starts now,” he said.

He also aims for BlackBerry to “maintain its leadership” position in the enterprise segment.

“It’s an area that we have been extremely strong in and we want to focus on maintaining enterprise leadership in the mobile devices management (MDM) space,” he said.

However, he stressed that it does not mean that the company is “giving up” on the consumer market.

“The consumer segment still plays an important role. To grow this part of the business, we need to get our pricing strategy right, and that’s what we will be looking closely into,” he said.

MDM market to consolidate?

Quirin also expects that the MDM space - an area which the company is strong at – will continue to consolidate.

“If you look at the space overall, there’s been a lot of change and consolidation. You are finding a lot of the large IT providers are looking for solutions to address the MDM component.

“We have been MDM for a significant amount of time, and we have a strong proposition. That’s a key component that some organisation don’t have today, and I think there will definitely be further consolidation going forward,” he said.

Over the recent years, several IT services providers have been acquiring MDM solutions providers. In December 2012, Citrix announced that it plans to acquire Zenprise for an undisclosed sum, although Fortune magazine reported  that the deal is worth US$355 million). In November 2013, IBM announced that it acquired Fiberlink for an undisclosed sum while VMWare acquired Airwatch for US$1.53 billion (both cash and equity combined) in January 2014.

“I can’t control what happens in the market. But what we need to do is we need to focus on what we have. As an organisation we have some great assets; now we have a very strong proposition,” claimed Quirin when asked if he feels these acquisitions could pose a threat to BlackBerry.

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