BlackBerry and Samsung a ‘match made in heaven’

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“Our relationship has great market pedigree for security and end-to-end control” says BB UK head of enterprise Mike Gibson

BlackBerry’s recent partnership with Samsung is a “match made in heaven”, according to its UK enterprise head Mike Gibson,who delivered a keynote speech at the IMM Reseller Winter Forum.

The Canadian manufacturer joined forces with Samsung in November to provide an end-to-end secure Android solution that integrates BlackBerry Enterprise Server 12 (BES 12) with Samsung’s Knox platform.

“Our relationship with Samsung emphasises that BlackBerry has a great market pedigree for security and end-to-end control,” Gibson said.

“Samsung brings the innovation and we bring the end-to-end security. That combination gives us a really powerful story. Reseller’s customers are waiting for someone to come in and tell them what that means.

“Previously, we wouldn’t even have talked to Samsung. BES12 now supports Knox (shipped on Samsung Galaxy S6). Phase one is about delivering the management of the device and phase two is about using BlackBerry’s infrastructure, our network operations capability, to deliver that end-to-end security to drop those applications in to Knox.

“You can take a standard Android app and drop it in without having to get it redone by application vendors.”

Software company

The partnership followed rumours of a potential $7 billion acquisition of BlackBerry by Samsung last month, something Gibson refused to discuss. Interestingly, despite BlackBerry’s repeated comments committing to hardware and the launch of the BlackBerry Leap at Mobile World Congress, Gibson repeatedly described BlackBerry as a ‘software company’. Mike-Gibson-BlackBerry-web

The reason,when questioned, is down to BlackBerry’s decision to allow its rivals to offer BB’s over-the-top services such as BES12 and BBM (which we’ll come to). He added the key for the firm going forward is now to remove that historic pure hardware association.

“Right now, it is a good news story for BlackBerry,” said Gibson. “We’ve pivoted back to enterprise and though we haven’t stopped selling to consumers we are firmly focussed on the enterprise business, both on the device side and even more as a software and services company.

Changing its identity

“The big problem we have got is that people tend to associate BlackBerry with a device and what we are trying to emphasise is that BlackBerry is more than just a device. We have this huge capability that can deliver on anything including a BlackBerry. Look beyond the device to really see the value in BlackBerry.”

As mentioned, part of this push in to software and services is the expansion of BBM.The messaging service was always popular with consumers and is now being adjusted to appeal to enterprise users through the introduction of BBM Protected, which brings enterprise grade encryption to BBM. BBM-android-ios-web

BBM is now available on BlackBerry, iOS, Android and Windows devices and has over 200 million users worldwide

“We’ve taken BBM from the consumer world and moved it into the enterprise world by giving the enterprise the ability to manage it,” Gibson explained.

“It is now bridging between enterprise and consumer and it is very feature rich and secure. The big market we are attacking now is within governments. If I’ve got BBM protected and you have as well, we can talk to each other in a protected environment without any need of IT integration. If two different services want to work together, they can just turn BBM on and talk rather than collate their services.”

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