Starting next year, enterprise organizations will be able to secure their mobile communications with a new offering from unlikely partners: BlackBerry Limited and Samsung. BlackBerry executives announced the partnership, along with several other new products and services, during the company's Enterprise Portfolio Launch on Thursday in San Francisco.
The new initiative stands to bolster the enterprise appeal of Samsung, currently the world's largest cellphone producer, with the addition of BlackBerry's recognized edge in mobile security. Following the announcement, the struggling BlackBerry's stock price on the NASDAQ exchange jumped by nearly 7 percent.
As part of the partnership, BlackBerry will combine its new BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12) cross-platform solution for enterprise mobility management (EMM) with Samsung's Knox security features for Galaxy smartphones and tablets. The joint offering will be aimed at enterprise customers that need "enhanced levels of security on Android devices," according to Injong Rhee, senior vice president of Samsung's Knox Business Group.
BlackBerry has seen the market share for its mobile OS steadily dwindle for years, and currently holds less than 1 percent of the global market, according to the latest figures from Strategy Analytics.
Meanwhile, Samsung -- while it holds the market's No. 1 spot -- is seeing increased competition from Xiaomi and other fast-growing Chinese makers of Android devices. Samsung has also found it difficult to gain traction in the Apple-heavy enterprise market for mobile devices.
Working together, BlackBerry and Samsung are "committed to deepening the interaction between our engineering and product development teams for the long-term," said John Sims, president of global enterprise services for BlackBerry. "It is a natural progression in our path to providing our customers with more alternatives to meet their evolving mobile needs."
Sims added that, through their partnership, BlackBerry would be able to "tightly integrate" the capabilities of its new BES12 platform with the Samsung Knox hardware and software security features.
Growing Need for Mobile Management
Starting in early 2015, Samsung will begin reselling BlackBerry's BES12 platform to joint customers, while BlackBerry will offer Knox support through its BES12 subscription offerings. Neither company provided details on pricing at this time.
The joint offering, BlackBerry said, will help enterprise customers reduce the number of threats that can bypass mobile app security mechanisms on Android devices. It will also help to minimize potential damage from flawed apps.
Among the features in BlackBerry's BES12 platform is the ability for enterprises to more easily separate work- and personal-related communications for cost management. The WorkLife feature will allow enterprise users to add a separate corporate phone number on personal devices, while employees can also add a personal phone number to company-provided phones. Either way, work-related communications will be charged to the corporate user while personal communications will be charged to the employee.
Adding such capabilities will be increasingly important as enterprise users go ever more mobile, according to a study by Loudhouse Research released by BlackBerry. The survey of 780 corporate risk, governance and compliance leaders at companies in highly regulated industries found that 76 percent believe that legal liability and lawsuit risks will grow unless their organizations make a greater effort to adopt comprehensive enterprise mobility management strategies.
Peter Fretty, jmp/pfretty:
Posted: 2014-12-01 @ 9:43am PT
I see the draw for both hoping to secure the enterprise dollars. And the collaboration seems to make sense. However, I have to wonder how the BYOD trend impacts the total direct enterprise spend level on new devices. Granted there are organizations who are still buying devices, but the shift is quite evident. I would think the better route would be to focus on helping the organizations develop MDM strategies and help fine tune their BYOD approaches in a manner that they can truly enjoy the productivity and collaboration potential.