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BlackBerry announces acquisition of mobile security company Secusmart

Secusmart CEO Hans-Cristoph Quelle
By Simon Sage on 29 Jul 2014 09:04 am EDT
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Today at the BlackBerry Security Summit in New York, BlackBerry announced the acquisition of a security company based in Germany called Secusmart. Above we can see Secusmart CEO Hans-Cristoph Quelle talking about the deal. Secusmart works on mobility security solutions for governments, wireless providers, and enterprise, which is right up BlackBerry's wheel house. Secusmart's solution is good enough for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to encrypt her device against the NSA apparently, so it seems like a great purchase for BlackBerry.

What do you guys think? Is now a smart time for BlackBerry to investing in new talent?

BlackBerry Reinforces Mobile Security Leadership with Acquisition of Secusmart

Waterloo, ON – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB), a world leader in mobile communications, has entered into an agreement to acquire Secusmart GmbH, a leader in high-security voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping solutions for government organizations, enterprises and telecommunications service providers in Germany and internationally.

The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of certain customary conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals.

"We are always improving our security solutions to keep up with the growing complexity of enterprise mobility, with devices being used for more critical tasks and to store more critical information, and security attacks becoming more sophisticated," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. "The acquisition of Secusmart underscores our focus on addressing growing security costs and threats ranging from individual privacy to national security. This acquisition bolsters our security solutions with leading voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping technologies, and furthers BlackBerry's security leadership in end-to-end mobile solutions."

BlackBerry and Secusmart have previously partnered to offer Secusmart's innovative technology to customers that have the most demanding security needs. In fact, last year, the SecuSUITE for BlackBerry® 10 solution was selected by Germany's Federal Office for Information Security for classified communications for the country's highest public officials. Through this collaboration, the two companies have provided Secusmart-equipped BlackBerry smartphones to a significant number of German government agencies and almost all German government ministries and leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"This transaction is a fantastic opportunity to accelerate growth in the market for high-end secure communications solutions, driven by the need to combat electronic eavesdropping and data theft," said Dr. Hans-Christoph Quelle, Managing Director of Secusmart. "Secusmart and BlackBerry's solution already meets the highest security requirements of the German federal authorities and NATO for restricted communications. We see significant opportunities to introduce Secusmart's solutions to more of BlackBerry's government and enterprise customers around the world."

BlackBerry's acquisition of Secusmart is the latest demonstration of the company's commitment to being the first name in enterprise mobile security. This commitment is why BlackBerry customers include all G7 governments, 16 of the G20 governments, 10 out of 10 of the largest global enterprises in each of the pharmaceutical, legal and automotive industries, and the five largest oil and gas companies. BlackBerry has more security certifications than any other vendor and is the only mobility solution to receive "Full Operational Capability" (FOC) approval to run on U.S. Department of Defense networks.

Source: BlackBerry

Reader comments

BlackBerry announces acquisition of mobile security company Secusmart

380 Comments

Excellent, plus the Germans do this secret coding stuff best. Just think of the enigma, it would never ever have been broken had a soldier decided not to follow protocol...

Classifieds Canada and GeoYeo B4B Apps all the way!!!

Agreed.

This move only solidifies their commitment to security and enforces the stability of BlackBerry as a whole.

Posted via CB10 app & my killer BlackBerry Z30

They finally heard me!! Thank you John Chen! Now, the sales pitch can be to ALL non-American governments, enterprises: NSA proof your communications! Not American hating here, just acknowledging recent NSA excesses, this probably resonates with a lot of people right now.

From my Neutrino Powered Z10

It's not American hating, it's the truth. The sleezy relationship between US tech and the NSA is frankly disgusting. We can thank Edward Snowden for starting the ball rolling. Germany is not alone in their disinvestment of American tech. There's Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Russia and China. Major government contracts routinely say that specific US companies are not allowed to bid because of security concerns. Apple and Google sold their soles and they are now paying the price.

Posted via CB10

Enigma was broken by Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski.
They was probably the best hackers ever:)

Posted via CB10

FYI.....

Enigma was only broken because a German soldier didn't follow protocol and got lazy, had he adhered to protocol the code would never ever of been broken.

Classifieds Canada and GeoYeo B4B Apps all the way!!!

Agree. It would be interested if it could be blended into the OS and make available to everyone not just enterprise.

Posted via CB10

good news for the acquisition...

but to me the big takeaway is that BlackBerry feels they are stable enough financially to start investing in companies that help their vision of the future...

i'm curious when was the last acquisition?

Can we collectively get over. So what he got a Droid, let the give live, this is free country.

Z30 Vivo Brasil

Nice thunder.

We knew something was in the works between BlackBerry and another with that last Chen interview. This is huge news.

Just get over his inability to get over ppl not getting over us not collectively getting over Umi using a Droid.

Too far?

Posted via CB10

Thunder, this probably the first time you comment on a humor comment. I'm happy to see that our CB community enjoy humor and take things easy.

Using Z10, wanting Z30, eyeing Windermere

I don't know if I'm happier to receive the compliment or sadder at the implication that I have no sense of humor... I'm confused!

Don't know what to say... big smile.

But this IS funny,
@ Thunderbuck & imcurved

(Humor comments FTW)

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

Well you would at least think someone who writes for a site call crackberry would at least use a BlackBerry. Just sayin.

Posted by Antoniius via my sexy Gold and White Q10.

Thank you. People cry about everything despite the awesome article Chris is bound to write

Posted via CB10

He drives an Opel.

( At least one of my overseas relatives does.)

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

No they don't but the difference is most of the people who work for Mercedes and don't own one aren't a blogger or press writing articles for thousands of people to read.... who doesn't even use the product.

Posted by Antoniius via my sexy Gold and White Q10.

Just in case you haven't noticed, Umi writes for all the mobile nations site, and he is a freelance writer for Mobile Nations meaning he is NOT an employee, just a guy who gets paid per contribution.

Nope. Damn Umi. DAMN HIM TO HELL!!!! Also im still losing sleep over the playbook not getting BB10; I feel so used, and lied to, and hurt. :P
/sarcasm

I believe Chris is now in a witness protection plan, but if you wish to find him, he can be tracked via his Android phone.

This ^ article / write-up is friggin' crazy. Thanks!

Hidden Android permissions that grant potentially persistent root rights even after a device reset. Ouch!

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

There is one by the other JC, it's called the "Gospel". :-)

Concerning the Playbook, let's wait and see.
Let's look forward, there might be something on the Verizon. Even this Secusmart thing is a huge surprise. Had been suggested multiple times on CB, and -bang!- it happened.

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

He is working for a Balckberry fan site. I think anyone who works at Crackberry should primarily be using a Blackberry phone. If you don't share passion of your customers then how can you relate to them?

This makes no sense. He writes about Financials. He chimed in at one time as a fan and then backed off when he was no longer one. He's a fan of the finances and the business side of things and like me wishes blackberry cleans up the mess that was made so we can come back to being fan boys.

Until then, anybody jumping down Kevin throat for carrying more than just a blackberry or thar the new check editor is bla1ze whom would carry almost every phone in existence?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not upset with any of them. I at one time would get defensive when the writer carried something different. Now I just want to know the scoop as I'm typing on my note 3 on a crackberry app.

Posted via my sexy Note 3. Big hands ;-)

Not to sound like a fanboy, but I had to do a double take to see if this is indeed the company securing phones for Germany's government officials... This is a great acquisition...

Wow, on yesterday's article about Germany's govt "only using BlackBerry", someone suggested BlackBerry should try to acquire them.

Good call!

Posted via CB10

I was about to say the same thing.....#teamblackberry

 Incurable Q10  Syndrome.....Keep away!!!!!!

+1

This was a *very* smart and very strategic acquisition for them to make IMO. Let's hope the German government allows the sale.

Posted via CB10

Fucking so awesome! I was just discussing it with a friend a week ago that BlackBerry should buy them. BlackBerry now owns the market on security.

The apple an IBM deal is a joke. The android blackphone is a joke.

What a brilliant move by Chen!

Posted by Antoniius via my sexy Gold and White Q10.

Bang on. Now we know why Apple made the deal with IBM. They basically have thrown in the towel when in comes to secure communications. Absolutely brilliant move by Chen. Simply no doubt about that.

First time in a LONG time I've seen a positive BlackBerry acquisition. Good news all around. Hope to meet JC in NY today!

Posted via CB10

"What do you guys think? Is now a smart time for BlackBerry to investing in new talent?"

I'm going to say yes, Mr Chen probably knows what he's doing.. :)

+1. This is a great complementary product to have. Not only that, but you wouldn't want competition buying them up so it's smart for BlackBerry to take them in before someone else did.

Built a PORSCHE BlackBerry phone with Secusmart. And "pimp" it up to the max...

$5000

$2K for being Porsche Design, and Secusmart alone is over $2.5K, so price is in line with standard offerings.

Celebs will buy. Others will follow.

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

It was a small company with a good reputation in its security offerings. Just the kind of company Blackberry would buy. Buy the small ones, partner with the big ones. It is the tech industries mantra.

Posted via CB10

The German government. has ordered 5000 BB10 devices with this companies security chip in it. The cost is $2000 each. They plan to order 10 -15,000 more... do the math

Posted via CB10

So 2000 euros x 20000 new phones in Germany alone = 40 million euros. Certainly a nice addition to Blackberry's revenue! I wonder if Chinese officials would be interested in this tech...

Posted via CB10

@newscollector...you're kidding ,right. Don't you know or haven't you noticed any good news about BB and the stock tanks.Anyway chen just stated that he is going to start hiring again,Go figure.Stock is sure to fall to $9and change.Get the hell off of Nasdaq!!!

Usually when a company acquires another, the stock of the buying company falls. It is an expense to that company that reflects on there quarterly earnings.

Posted via CB10

Not necessarily. All revenues and expenses, assets and liabilities of the acquired company becomes acquiree's. The stock may have risen due to investors perceptions of future profits too, but could be in a net fall for other reasons. In BlackBerry's case it has fallen :-(..... my opinion is that investors are still reeling over the apple IBM/ Blackphone situations lately. BlackBerry isn't secure enough for those bandwagon investors to hang on through some competitive 'improvements'. I say it in quotes cuz I don't think anything what apple has done or what Blackphone stands for hurts BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

I might sound crazy and supporting the conspiracy theory.. but if BlackBerry continues to go like this, the NSA will try his best to tackle BlackBerry, even try to make them out of business. Lol.

They already are I'm sure. Nothing else explains the COMPLETE lack of interest by even the carriers here who carry BlackBerry in some form. Go to Verizon website and read the reviews on BlackBerry phones. All 3 bb10 models they have get out standing though admittedly few reviews. Now I do realize BlackBerry has a lot of work to do regarding apps and such for the average consumer in general. However, if you owned a business and your customers that used a certain product raved about it, wouldn't you try to sell more? I mean at the very least you'd think the sales reps would be encouraged to do it word of mouth. Something like, we don't run commercials on these but a lot of the reviews on our website and a lot customers that own these here in the area are really happy with them.

That's all it would take to considerably improve BlackBerry position. Granted, they wouldn't be in android category or I phone but they would be in a lot better shape here in the US. Heck vzw even advertises the windows phone. That tells me they are actively helping kill BlackBerry here.

Posted via CB10

Reviews that are only made by FANS (only ones buying BlackBerry devices) are going to tend to be pretty positive. Very few non BlackBerry users ever even considered a BB10 device, because at launch all they had to ask was "Can I play Candy Crush?" "How well does Instagram Work".... and THAT was the end of any consideration.

Verizon has had a history trying to get BlackBerry to "do the right thing" and provide what consumers want. But you can only lead a horse to water.... BlackBerry failed them with the STORM, BlackBerry failed them with the launch of the Z10.

You are so right. It is always BlackBerry's fault. US carriers are the bleeding white knights. Why doesn't the company go out of business already.

Posted via CB10

However in other Asian countries Z3 is helping to bring more users to BlackBerry 10. I think candy crush will be encouraged to go native pretty soon.

Posted via CB10 from my Z30

Replace candy crush and instagram with apps people actually use and want such as Google Maps, Office 365, Google Now or Flipboard and your comment is more accurate.

Posted via CB10

You are right! US companies fear foreign competition! Canada is so friendly even buying American cars but big companies don't like us. Even without them BlackBerry will survive!

Not only NSA is probably "interested" in BlackBerry. I think Google and Apple have also BIG interest in BlackBerry. Most of the internet sites that bash BlackBerry write positive about Google and Apple.

NSA is also probably not involved in BlackBerry stock price manipulation. NSA probably doesn't - via investment funds - nominate BlackBerry board of directors which afterwards decides which CEO is best to mismanage company.

Last I checked, is not Verizon the only US carrier even bothering to sell BlackBerry phones? Just last weekend when I was in a Verizon store, I saw working black AND white Z10's, a working Q10, and a working Z30 all on display. Verizon is the only carrier that even bothered to carry the Z30 in the US. Also, the only advertising I have seen for the Z10 and Z30 has come from Verizon. BlackBerry has been strangely silent marketing wise on the Z30 despite the positive reviews it has received even from non-BB fanboys.....that said, good for them on shoring up on their security edge. If nothing else, it should remind people that BlackBerry security is already #1 with those whom real security matters and I would think this addresses, at least superficially, recent criticisms of BlackBerry security by potential rivals.

Outstanding move! I love it! Anybody who is worried that BlackBerry is about to ditch handsets can take a small sigh of relief as this seems to lock BlackBerry into handsets for the next while. It is also a commitment to stick with SD cards as the Secursmart solution requires an SD card so some of those Android phones that are phasing it out shouldn't worry BlackBerry owners about losing it anytime soon. :)

I think it's a great move. It demonstrates to investors and their competitors that BBY is a force to deal with and the obituary notices are way too early. As they say in Monty Python & the Holy Grail, " I'm not dead yet!"

Posted via CB10

This is great news. Now for Blackberry to lower the price of Secusmart technology and bring it to the masses. Or even better incorporate it into the OS if possible. Security minded folks would run to the Blackberry platform in droves.

N4BB is live streaming a blog from the event. Just follow the event from their app!

Posted via the Z30 on CB10

They are a competitor?

And want to see BlackBerry dead and dismantled. Isn't that obvious? I mean, c'mon... :-)

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

He used to use an iPhone for a few years before he got his Porsche Z30. He said in an interview that after he used bb10 iPhones seem like toys.

From a Z30

The sweetest and most awesome news I have heard since I heard of the Passport (my ticket to the world). ;)
John Chen, u da man!!!!

Ok devil is in the details but company has started acquiring other companies even before they have broken even!!! What is the cash flow for the deal is yet to be known but investment without much in the bank is not wise. Chen loves hitting home runs which has been stunning so far but this is simply phenomenal. I hope guy is smart enough to sniff the dimes. Secusmart was a must acquire though. It can open up European market for them. Fingers crossed.

Posted via CB10

I think Apple should have bought Black Berry at any cost just to dismantle it. NOW? BB is just getting stronger and stronger. The IBM/Apple deal is just crap.

I seriously don't think BB will ever sell out the way it is going right now.

Apple should probably just Buy IBM already. It's the only way these 2 companies are going to work together.

Posted via CB10

Outstandingly awesome! ... in my humble opinion.

Most likely posted via CB10 from my amazing Z30, but may have been posted from my awesome PlayBook.

What a bad acquisition, NSA HACKED Angela Merkel's phone. so secusmart is useless. Notice they don't mention price because probably they overpaid and cash burn reduces market value.

Not talking about Blackberry, talking about secusmart which is a marketing gimmick than a security company.

Yes, me too. Secusmart only works with BlackBerry 10. Her phone was hacked when she had an old Nokia dumb phone. That's why the entire German government moved to BlackBerry. Read the article again.

Posted via CB10

No you are wrong.

Secusmart, the company that built the chancellor's "safe" phone, issued a statement saying that its product had not been bugged. "We still meet the highest security standards", said the company's co-founder, Hans-Christoph Quelle.

Which proves exactly what I said: Secusmart devices have not been hacked. The report was about Merkel's personal phone: an old Nokia.

Posted via CB10

Dude of course the company going to say that and the article was when there was suspicion it was hacked.

Snowden leaks were evidence they were hacked.

OMG... You really need to learn how to use Google.

Merkel started using Secusmart on a Z10 BECAUSE of the NSA hack on her non-BlackBerry non-Secusmart Nokia phone.

Posted via CB10

You're really pathetic. Know the facts before vomiting nonsense. The way you rip on, BlackBerry I don't think crackberry is for you.

Posted via CB10

Good on blackberry, its expensive side to remain relevant In tech!

Blackberry started as a corporate device and it trickled into the consumer space.....i can see this happening again

Posted via CB10

Excellent acquisition: now BlackBerry can offer an additional service to its customers. A win for security conscious firms, and a win for BlackBerry.

The reason BlackBerry purchased secusmart is because this way they still will be able to provide nsa with Merkels phone conversation.
They bought a backdoor

Posted via CB10

If you understood the underlying technology behind Secusmart you wouldn't fire out such nonsense!

Posted via CB10

I had a suspicion like that, too. Just the conspiracy theorist mind doing its usual thing. You have to accept it, and then follow reason.

I can tell you, the German employees wouldn't play that game, and the whistle would go off on Twitter quicker than you can say "Secusmart".

Whistleblowers ftw! Keeping things honest...

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

Ausgezeichnet, SmartBerry! I hope secursmart helps BlackBerry lead the way in changing the way people surrender their browsing and search terms to the Internet. This is joyous!

Smart move!!!! German government will be loving this. They will be ordering more devices across the board for their government entities.

Posted via CB10

Ironic that the German government stated they wanted more BlackBerry's with SecuSmart just yesterday.

It's as if the German government knew about it and were giving an endorsement. Good to see we still have big time fans.

I bet you that Chen orchestrated the while thing. Damn he's good. I'm not saying that Thorsten was bad, but man you can see what a great CEO iis like.

Posted via CB10

You really think that BlackBerry's legal team does not vet out potential acquisitions before they are announced? Of course they talked to the German government, the EU and any other regulatory bodies before announcing the deal because that's just part of the business. Deals are in the works for months before they are announced. The thing is even with all the vetting in the world regulators sometimes change their mind based on a number of factors so you can never be sure. But I have no doubt BlackBerry talked to German Government officials before today's announcement

Yeah, but it is very odd for a government to endorse a company, isn't it? I can't think of a single other time that I've seen this, other than perhaps to stimulate the economy.

For BlackBerry to stake a claim as the most secure platform in the industry, it's important to continue invest in companies that is relevant to it's growth. Despite it's precarious position in the market, BlackBerry still has to remain competitive and strategically out maneuver it's competitors.

Haha, yep.

You could write for Wall Street, you'd fit right in! I bet Apple would even be glad to give you a little something, something. But shhhh...! ;)

This is definitely the best news in ages! I worked on the Secusmart solution for a client a few months back. It's superbly integrated into the BB10 OS.

Bye bye Blackphone! ;)

Posted via CB10

Just the fact that JC feels comfortable to start making acquisitions is awesome. One German asset replaces another.

This penetration is really the right move prior to the launching of their new devices...big ups!!! ...blackberry..looking forward always.

Posted via CB10

This is great news to start the day! BlackBerry and Secusmart go together like peanut butter and jelly, making the perfect sandwich (or partnership in this case) .

Posted via CB10

Than sounds like a sickly Android version....

Make that Peanutbutter BB Jam!

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

With having both QNX and Secusmart BLACKBERRY should(and is for me) be the only choice when it comes to your phone.

Posted via CB10

Are you a government agency or enterprise CIO in a highly security conscious business?

No?

Then you will not be buying a Secusmart equipped BlackBerry. Ever. This purchase isn't for consumer grade BlackBerrys, it's to ensure that BlackBerry continues to win over government and highly secure business contracts. The secusmart chip adds $2000 on top of the purchase price. The Secusmart BlackBerry's make the Porsche Design models seem like a bargain. Not intended for average consumers.

But there is potential for a consumer grade chip in the future at a more affordable price

Posted via CB10

That would be €2000. Which might be close to $2000. I have no idea haha.

But Chen did mention four categories of phones: Classic, entry, flagship and designer (such as Porsche). Maybe we'll see a German Edition in the future, with Berlin architectural styling and built-in SecuSmart technology.

This acquisition makes sense, focuses on their differentiator. It looks like a very smart and bold move in the current context over privacy.

Posted via CB10

Crazy. Yesterday Germany talking about how they want to deploy even more BB10 devices coupled with Secusmart technology and now this ...

You really think this deal was done in 24 hours? You really think BlackBerry's legal team didn't vet the deal out before it was announced? The German Government would have been on the list of regulatory bodies to consult before the deal was signed. They knew this deal was in the works. The announcement by the German Government was likely an endorsement and a vote of confidence in BlackBerry. Germany would not let this deal happen if they thought that BlackBerry was going under as they would not want the company that secures German Government communications to be acquired by an entity potentially friendly to the NSA or other foreign spy agencies.

Wait, what?! Of course this wasn't a knee-jerk reaction. I think it was a great decision that was given a lot of thought by both parties. All I said was, "crazy", meaning how close together the stories were reported to the public.

I think he was implying that if wasn't a coincidence.
Definitely odd to see a government endorse a company like that, though. Maybe they're still mad at the US!

Great quote from Charles Eagan: “Security is like oxygen, you don’t notice it until it’s missing. When it’s missing, it’s all you think about.”

So, Mr Chen can you make some of this security available to consumers? I want my phone on stealth mode. Make a secure network with friends, clients and family somehow ? Is that possible?

From my z30

Gr8 move BlackBerry. For these other smartphone platforms, remove the battery & still the NSA can eavesdrop.

This is really big news. BlackBerry is sticking to what they said they would and are being very strategic

Posted via CB10

Excellent.

BlackBerry is already the best at security. But resting on their laurels is what got them in trouble a couple of years ago.

They have to continue to push the envelope to put space between them and the competition.

Why should they make a cross platform Secusmart solution? Being the company owning the technology that secures the government of Europe's largest economic power is a pretty good item to have on your resume when seeking out new government and secure enterprise business.

BlackBerry needs to see hardware if they want to remain a hardware maker. They aren't doing much in the consumer market right now, but if they can move a hundred thousand units at $2000 a pop equipped with Secusmart to government agencies and secure enterprise that helps the devices business' bottom line around as much as selling half a million consumer BlackBerry phones.

If they are going to make a shift towards software and services, offering a cross-platform solution may be part of the long term plan. That would be very much in line with the direction they're headed with BES and BBM.

Posted while peeking and flowing on my incredible BBQ10! 

This is the one deal that that rings in the biggest turnaround of any tech company in recent history. Good on you John Chen. BlackBerry all the way!

Posted via CB10

What an acquisition! It shows how focused BlackBerry is on being and bringing the most secure mobile and software solution.

Posted via CB10

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