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BlackBerry can rise from the ashes as a leader in MDM

Tony Bradley | July 1, 2013
BlackBerry's earnings failed to meet Wall Street expectations in a quarter that should have marked its return to glory. But there is a silver lining in the news.

I then asked my Facebook, Google+, and Twitter contacts—a combined audience of about 35,000 (plus whatever extended audience might have seen the question after the fact)—if they or anyone they knew had intentionally switched from another platform to a BB10 smartphone without their employer holding a gun to their head. Crickets. Not a single person responded to say they had even heard of such a thing.

The only reason BlackBerry's quarter was as good as it was is the pent-up demand from customers who are locked into BlackBerry. Beyond that, there is no demand, and it will get only worse from here.

Meet BlackBerry: The MDM company
I sounded the death of BlackBerry as a mobile platform or device manufacturer more than a year ago, predicting that BlackBerry Mobile Fusion would be the future for BlackBerry. I still think the company can emerge from its ashes and re-establish itself as a mobile device management (MDM) company.

It seems BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins is beginning to see things that way, too. He devoted much of the earnings call to spinning the quarterly results. Heins' message was essentially "Don't pay attention to the dismal smartphone sales and revenue figures, just look at the silver lining: BlackBerry isn't just a device company—it can live on as an enterprise mobility company."

BlackBerry is already marching in that direction, starting with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. The company has also announced plans to make BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) available on iOS and Android. More recently, it added that BlackBerry Secure Work Space will also be offered for iOS and Android. Do you see the pattern?

The ship has sailed on BlackBerry as a mobile platform, and BlackBerry smartphones and tablets are not long for this world. But many companies remain entrenched in the BlackBerry ecosystem. They love BBM. They appreciate the security and the control BlackBerry provides. By extending the features and capabilities that customers love most about BlackBerry to iOS and Android, BlackBerry enables its customers to incorporate or transition to other platforms without losing the BlackBerry mobile-management tools they value so highly.

BlackBerry invented mobile device management before there was an MDM market. It makes sense for BlackBerry to surrender the mobile platform and device market, and assert its role as the dominant MDM player.


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