In an effort to win over at least a portion of the bring-your-own device crowd that has moved on to other smart phone options, BlackBerry Ltd. has announced that it will allow other mobile device management firms to “directly manage” devices running the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
The Waterloo, Ont-based phone maker also said that so far MDM software maker AirWatch of Atlanta and virtualization software company Cirtix Systems Inc., of Fort Lauderdale have desire to “work with BlackBerry to enable a more open mobility ecosystem.”
AirWatch said the move benefits its channel partners.
“The enterprise mobility landscape continues to rapidly evolve, and BlackBerry represents a valued addition to our partner ecosystem,” said Kevin Keith, director of business development, for AirWatch. “The integration of the BlackBerry 10 operating system into the comprehensive Airwatch Enterprise Mobility Management Platform will empower our customers and partners to fully manage any device in their mobile fleet from a single console.”
“As an EMM leader, Citrix XenMobile extends support to all enterprise devices,” said Chris Fleck, vice-president of mobility solutions and alliances at Cirtix. “we have long supported BlackBerry OS devices, and the new BlackBerry 10 APIs create exciting possibilities,”
This strategy will enable IT departments of BlackBerry’s corporate clients, who have recently switched to or are using non- BlackBerry MDM systems, to manage BlackBerry devices should some of their employees chose to bring these devices into the corporate network. BlackBerry has been struggling to attract more users over the last several quarters as its new line of BB10-powered devices failed to wrestle a substantial market share from rivals Samsung Electronics Co. that offers Android powered phones and Apple Inc. which produces the iPhone.
Part of BlackBerry CEO John Chen’s turn-around plans includes transitioning from phone manufacturing to developing services, particularly MDM. Today, BlackBerry said, the opening up its mobile OS to rival MDM systems is not in conflict with Chen’s strategy.
“Offering the end-to-end secure solutions valued by our customers in government and other regulated industries remains central to our strategy, however BlackBerry understands the opportunity and importance of opening our BlackBerry 10 software,” said Ron Luks, president of devices and emerging solutions for BlackBerrry, in a statement.
He said the move is a “natural next step” in the company’s strategy to provide its customers more choice.
BlackBerry will continue to offer its multiplatform enterprise mobile management (EMM) solution BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, which manages and secures corporate own and BYOD BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices, a statement from the BlackBerry said.
“BlackBerry will also launch BES12 with Windows Phone 8 support in late 2014.