Ever since BlackBerry lost massive share of the smartphone market to the iPhone and flagship Android devices, the company has become content to move to the back office and focus on device management and security.
On Tuesday, BlackBerry announced its Good Secure Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Suites. A BlackBerry press release described the set of applications as "a comprehensive set of mobile security, management, productivity and collaboration offerings including best-in-class app security and containerization, Identity and Access Management, and Enterprise File Sync and Share with file level data protection."
The Good Secure EMM Suites also offers integrations with BES 12, Good Dynamics, and WatchDox as well, and can be deployed in the cloud or on-premise. The new EMM capabilities will be available across multiple operating systems and will follow a user-based subscription model, with prices starting at $3 per user, per month.
BlackBerry acquired Good Technology toward the end of 2015, and the announcement of this integration comes roughly three months after the deal was finalized, said Billy Ho, executive vice president of enterprise product and value added solutions at BlackBerry.
In the press release, BlackBerry quoted statistics from research firm Strategy Analytics which pegged BlackBerry and Good as holding a combined 25% of the EMM segment. Gartner's Magic Quadrant for EMM leaders showed both BlackBerry and Good growing slightly from 2014-2015, but still trailing companies like IBM, Citrix, and VMware's AirWatch.
BlackBerry is still in the business of building handsets, with recent Priv model launching the company's move toward Android. However, BlackBerry has been slowly trying to reinvent itself, focused less on mobile hardware and more on its mobile security tools and services.
This latest announcement is a key move for the company in pushing this strategy forward. Forrester's Christian Kane said the he was impressed with how quickly BlackBerry was able to integrate Good and release the suite, given that the acquisition deal just closed in November.
Both companies had a similar customer base before the deal, Kane said, and they should be able to complement one another in terms of product offerings.
"Blackberry has had very strong device management and secure content and collaboration, while Good has very strong application security/management and containerization options," Kane said. "With the two together you have a pretty completely solution in terms of covering device, app, data, and network security and management."
While the results of the Good integration will likely help BlackBerry's position in the EMM market, they are still facing challenges in the space. At the top of that list of challenges, Kane said, is client perception that BlackBerry isn't a cross-platform player. Although, Kane said he would contend that they are cross-platform and have been for a while. Another question that comes into play is BlackBerry's staying power.
"They have a pretty healthy business with great tech in areas other than just devices but given their dramatic rise and fall, there is still a perception out there that Blackberry is just devices," Kane said. "I think this release gives them another good opportunity to really focus customers more on the strength of their software (security and management)."
Three big takeaways
- BlackBerry's new EMM suite based on recently-acquired Good Technology focuses on app security and containerization, identity management, and file level data protection.
- BlackBerry is slowly but surely positioning itself as a provider of security and management tools, and not just a handset maker—but it continues to fight that perception.
- Although BlackBerry and Good both have strong legacies in EMM, they continue to trail market leaders such as Citrix and AirWatch, according to Gartner Magic Quadrant.
- Why the future of BlackBerry has nothing to do with hardware (TechRepublic)
- Photos: BlackBerrys through the ages (ZDNet)
- BlackBerry tosses up the SOS, and Android attempts to answer the call (TechRepublic)
- Testing the BlackBerry Priv convinced me to buy another Passport (ZDNet)
- BlackBerry Priv has a big flaw: It's a privacy flop (ZDNet)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is Enterprise Editor for TechRepublic. He covers startups and enterprise technology and is passionate about the convergence of tech and culture.