BlackBerry is tired of rival mobile device management (MDM) companies circling its body like a swarm of ravenous vultures. In an open letter to enterprise customers posted on Monday, interim BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that his company is “very much alive” in the enterprise mobility space and that businesses shouldn’t listen to MDM vendors who want them to throw away their BES.
“You’re hearing a lot of noise in the market about BlackBerry,” Chen begins in his letter. “MDM vendors are undoubtedly inviting you to webinars and enticing you to switch off your BES. We want to set the story straight about BlackBerry in the Enterprise, both for our existing customers and for those about to implement BYOD and MDM. We are very much alive, thank you.”
What makes the letter particularly interesting is that it indicates that BlackBerry really is waving the white flag in the consumer mobile device market and is going to back to putting enterprise devices and services first.
“We’re going back to our heritage and roots — delivering enterprise-grade, end-to-end mobile solutions,” BlackBerry says. “As we refocus back to our roots, BlackBerry will target four areas: handsets, EMM solutions, cross-platform messaging, and embedded systems. And, just as important, we will continue to invest in enterprise and security related R&D during our restructuring period.”
The renewed focus on the enterprise and security actually comes at an opportunistic time for BlackBerry. Outrage over the National Security Agency’s widespread data collection practices may be leading some governments and companies to give BlackBerry services and devices a fresh look as the only truly secure mobile solutions available. The company even acknowledges that its own devices “aren’t for everyone” and that it is much more of a comprehensive mobile security service provider than it is a rival to iOS and Android.
The full letter follows below.
An Open Letter to Customers
To our valued enterprise customers and partners,
You’re hearing a lot of noise in the market about BlackBerry®. MDM vendors are undoubtedly inviting you to webinars and enticing you to switch off your BES.
We want to set the story straight about BlackBerry in the Enterprise, both for our existing customers and for those about to implement BYOD and MDM.
We are very much alive, thank you
Our “for sale” sign has been taken down and we are here to stay. BlackBerry recently announced it has entered into an agreement to receive a strategic investment from Fairfax Financial and other institutional investors, which represents a vote of confidence in the future of BlackBerry.
The investments you’ve made in BlackBerry infrastructure and solutions are secure.
I will keep the lines of communication open as we navigate through this transition.
We’re going back to our heritage and roots – delivering enterprise-grade, end-to-end mobile solutions. As we refocus back to our roots, BlackBerry will target four areas: handsets, EMM solutions, cross-platform messaging, and embedded systems. And, just as important, we will continue to invest in enterprise and security related R&D during our restructuring period.
In short, reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.
Setting the record straight: We will manage all devices
We’re serious about multi-platform MDM and even more serious about multi-platform EMM. We deliberately moved to a new platform with BES10 last year. Making this change enables us to manage all devices, turbo-charge BYOD initiatives, and provide the very best management experience.
Our competitors want you to think that BES only manages BlackBerry devices, and that we are somehow more expensive than other MDMs. This is false.
We understand the realities of the enterprise mobility market better than anyone, and we’re in the game for the long term. We’ve been investing in enterprise mobility management – for any device – and thanks to customers like you, we’re doing very well. Here’s the proof:
- Our EMM customer base is much larger than any of the other vendors in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management – and is growing.
- We manage more mobile devices than any other vendor. Period.
- We move more secure mobile data than anyone else.
- We have substantial cash and are not a small VC-backed “pure play” MDM player seeking additional funds every year.
Security is not debatable – regardless of the device
BYOD users may be able to bring any device to work, but it’s our job to ensure the risk doesn’t follow them in. Whether you’re deploying corporate-owned iPads or allowing BYOD Android™ devices, security is paramount.
We have more certifications from government agencies than any other vendor and we’re the only EMM vendor and handset maker to receive the Department of Defense “Authority to Operate” certification.
Governments, global corporations and organizations that will not compromise on security continue to choose and trust BlackBerry.
BES10 is your future Enterprise Mobility Solution
We know that BlackBerry devices are not for everyone. That’s OK.
As we committed to earlier – we are more than just a device company. Today, BES10 supports multi-platform MDM, mobile application management and security. We have also made it as easy and low cost as possible for you to trial and deploy BES10.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to have an open conversation with you. Keep an eye out for an EMM Realities webcast series where we will drill down into the key areas in this letter. In the meantime, I want your feedback on how we can better serve your EMM needs.
I believe in BlackBerry and I’m confident in our future in enterprise, our technology and our ability to adapt to changing market needs.
John S. Chen
Executive Chair and CEO