BlackBerry’s long pivot into software
By Benjamin Cher August 9, 2016
- Committed to the device business, says its phones are here to stay
- Software pivot has been aided by its partnerships and acquisitions
ITS push-email devices was once a standard in many an executive’s pocket, and even when it was late to the smartphone trend, it managed to retain a 41% share of the US market up to as late as 2010, but is now languishing with a 0.8% piece.
It has been a quick fall and a long, still ongoing clamber back up for BlackBerry Ltd, formerly Research In Motion Ltd. Revised business strategies, management revamps and a ho-hum reception in new markets have not helped its case either.
But it hasn’t thrown in the towel yet. In fact, the Canadian company now sees itself as an enterprise software vendor that just happens to sell handsets too, according to Paul Crighton, vice president of its ‘Asia Pacific and Japan’ market.
“BlackBerry today is a new company – we’ve made significant progress on our transformation and strategic priorities, which includes making the device business profitable, growing software, investing in new growth engines, and generating positive cash flow,” he said.
“We have just announced robust software growth, refreshed our global partner programme and recently shared seven major new updates to the BlackBerry enterprise portfolio to give customers greater visibility of and control over their entire mobile infrastructure,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Singapore recently.
For its first quarter of 2016 ended June, BlackBerry recorded software and services revenue of US$166 million, up 21% year-over-year.
But despite being a new company, as Crighton (pic) would have it, security remains a core focus. “Security is integral to everything we do, and the cornerstone of every single BlackBerry product,” he declared.
“We build security into every layer of our products, from software and hardware to infrastructure and devices,” he added.
BlackBerry’s pivot into software has also been aided by its partnerships and acquisitions.
“Our strategic partnerships with the likes of Google for Android for Work and acquisitions of Secusmart, Movirtu, AtHoc, Watchdox and Good Technology have substantially enhanced our software portfolio in the areas of security, privacy and the Internet of Things,” said Crighton.
“We’ve combined Good Dynamics and BES12 – providing the ‘gold standard’ for both mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM),” he said, referring to the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 enterprise mobility management (EMM) suite rolled out in 2014.
“In June, BlackBerry was named a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for EMM suites,” he added.
Crighton said that BlackBerry’s performance in the South-East Asian market has been promising.
“It has been quite a journey, but we are well beyond our turnaround in South-East Asia and very pleased with our momentum and the reception by our customers and our partners,” he declared.
“What we are hearing from customers in particular, is that the swift integration of Good Technology with BES12 has been particularly well received,” he added.
Plans and the handset division
Meanwhile, Crighton said he is focused on growing the business across Asia Pacific.
“My priorities are to work hand-in-hand with our partners to grow the channel, and boost customer access and support for BlackBerry’s enterprise software services across the region,” said Crighton.
“A recent example outside of South-East Asia is our enterprise channel partnership announcement with HCL Infosystems in India.
“We are looking to grow those partnership opportunities across the region and support our customers at every point of their mobility journey, regardless of what devices or mobility policy they have deployed,” he added.
As for the handset division that produced the iconic BlackBerry Bold, the company is still committed to the device business, according to Crighton.
“In a blog post from our chief operating officer Marty Beard, he reaffirms our commitment to BlackBerry 10.
“He also shares how we have merged the best of BlackBerry and Android to bring you the BlackBerry Priv, and says soon there will be others,” he added.
This goes beyond smartphones and still encompasses BlackBerry’s core focus on security, according to Crighton.
“Our view is that the rapidly growing mobile environment is quickly being encompassed by an IoT world that requires both strong security and connectivity,” he added.
But with this focus, BlackBerry has a new set of priorities for its handset division, which are to expand customer choice, leverage security, and “build on the BlackBerry pedigree,” said Crighton.
For more BlackBerry’s security outlook, click on the video below:
BES12: The future of BlackBerry?
Indonesia’s Emtek in licensing pact with BlackBerry, to develop BBM apps
BlackBerry becomes relevant again with Priv
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