BlackBerry opens up BB10 to outside MDM platforms

BlackBerry opens up BB10 to outside MDM platforms
By Simon Sage on 13 May 2014 11:30 am EDT

BlackBerry has announced that alternative mobile device management systems can now support BlackBerry 10. AirWatch, Citrix, and IBM are already showing interest in supporting BB10 in their respective MDM solutions. BlackBerry will of course continue to be offering BES as their own solution to businesses looking to wrangle Android, iOS, and BB10 devices.

This is a pretty big step for BlackBerry, which has traditionally held a pretty firm grip on their devices, but as a shift in providing a flexible platform with as wide adoption as possible, this is probably a smart move. What do you guys think? Should BlackBerry be the only one to offer software to managed BB10 devices, or would you like the option of alternative MDM solutions?

Press Release

BlackBerry Opens BlackBerry 10 Operating System to Multiple MDM Platforms

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 13, 2014) - BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY) (TSX: BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that it will enable mobile device management (MDM) companies to directly manage devices with the BlackBerry 10 operating system.

AirWatch, Citrix and IBM have expressed their intent to be the first companies to work with BlackBerry to enable a more open mobility ecosystem. In doing so, BlackBerry will provide organizations with more options to embrace multi-operating system mobile environments by enabling other MDM companies to manage BlackBerry 10 devices.

According to Gartner, "Mobile device management (MDM) remains a top priority for IT buyers, and investment levels are growing steadily. Competition among players drives commoditization."(1) Gartner also notes, "Proliferation of and demand for workplace mobility necessitate the need for quality and flexible management tools."(2) As a result of this demand, BlackBerry is working with the companies listed above to offer customers the most flexible solution to support a broader enterprise mobility 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 Louks, President of Devices and Emerging Solutions, BlackBerry. "This is a natural next step in our enterprise strategy as we seek to provide our customers with maximum choice in how they will meet the full array of employee mobility needs."

"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, AirWatch by VMware®. "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." "At Citrix, our vision is to deliver mobile workspaces to users anywhere, any time and on any device. As an industry EMM leader, Citrix XenMobile extends support to all enterprise devices. We have long supported BlackBerry OS devices, and the new BlackBerry 10 APIs create exciting possibilities," said Chris Fleck, Vice President of Mobility Solutions & Alliances, Citrix.

BlackBerry will continue to offer its multi-platform EMM solution BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10), which manages and secures corporate-owned and BYOD BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices. BlackBerry intends to launch BES12 in late 2014, adding Windows Phone 8 support.

Reader comments

BlackBerry opens up BB10 to outside MDM platforms


What is a "wudchuck" and how do you chuck "would"??

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

Cud it be that the wudchuck, chuck ed wud when he thought he cud, but not when he knew he cud.

Posted via CB10

Wow, this comment [and the ones following this one] shows your (and the others) level of understanding of this announcement.

Not much one might say...

Powered by BB

Can't see how it could hurt. Although I'm curious how many companies want to use BB10 devices but NOT BES. Seems like it'd be mostly the other way around.

Posted via CB10

I see this being more of a positive for byod companies who currently use other mdm's and have a hand full of employees who would prefer to use a BlackBerry but have been told they can't.

Posted via CB10

Now that they have proven BES is the most affordable, maybe they could sweeten the deal even more and maybe offer discounts for every BB10 device they use with the service... That could encourage more businesses to not only use BES but to use BB10 phones as well.

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

They already do this by offering more functionality and control for a silver BES license for BB10 devices then for Android and IOS.

Posted from my awesome HUB enabled  Z10

^ I personally see this as a stupid move!

1. Apple, and up until the last 1.5yrs Android or Google NEVER had their OWN MDM/EMM solution ... technically the don't!
- Samsung offers KNOX but it's for THEIR hardware only thus far.

2. ALL the 20+ MDM/EMM solutions, all listed on Gartner's Magic Quadrant every quarter STILL rank (ahem, pay exhorbitant sums to be listed as 'best') higher than BES/BlackBerry.

This, yet again as BlackBerry LOVES TO DO, is going BACKWARDS to what BlackBerry have been trying to sing, praise and spend fortunes on establishing. Now their throwing in the towell for future references?

Let's see Mr Chen's record thus far:

1. Protect the brand publicly
- speak out loud use previous clout to gain media attraction to the brand.
- punish obvious patent infringement (and won)
2. Push separation of the business entities that are worthy of building up and capable as lucrative sales entities.
a) globally known: BBM & BES
b) make the brand known for what it is: (repeat listings for "a" above)
c) can be sold off as lucrative entities: BES much more than BBM

3. Compartmentalize entities so they get more focused development attention:
QNX Cloud spawned from their EMM/M2M beta from QNX teams
BES10 will evolve heavily along with BES5 into BES12!!
BBM gets larger characters, looser data restrictions in sharing media through BBM, make it cross platform to have ANY potential worth to any other company!!

And now ... opening up the BES MDM platform ... WHY at this stage?!

I am wondering if the plan is to make people consider BES by showing them how much more capable it is than the 3rd party platforms.

It's pretty hard to convince people to buy both phones and server at the same time, but if you can say "Oh, you're running on Citrix are you? If you were running on BES those BlackBerrys could do this, this and this. And you STILL wouldn't lose any of the functionality your Android and Apple phones have." you might have more chance as getting people to switch.

I think it's a get a foot in the door policy.

I think it's a big mistake...One of the big selling point of BES10/12 was that it is the only MDM to offer access to all devices...Not any more..BB has put devices on front of MDM software.

Posted via CB10

I think it's 50/50 and depends on the perspective taken. I think it could help the consumer side of the BYOD front by allowing individual customers who choose to stay with BBRY, the ability to use their personal phones in the workplace and be securely managed, without having to switch to an iPhone or Android strictly for work purposes.

On the other side, I see this as creating a disincentive for companies to choose BES, unless they were already planning on incorporating BBRY phones and BES. BES has its on benefits, such as a lower total cost, but if businesses are already familiar w/ the competitions' MDM offerings, then they may not have enough of a reason to switch to BES. I guess we'll see how this all pans out.

Posted via CB10

The problem would be the volume of people having BB in North America is small. It is unlikely that a company would buy BES only to satisfy that small number. So they are better off opening the OS so other MDM can support it.

a) it will force competitors to allocate resources to support BB (no reason why they can't now)
b) this could help them refine any potential issues with MDM

Remember, full BES will have the best feature set and security so there is still benefits to go full BES for those companies who wants it.

I think the number of BlackBerry users in NA is not a factor in the business decision for corporations to implement BES, now that it can manage all platforms (windows support coming). I agree that BES may be better than other MDM solutions, and even perform better for BlackBerry phones, but I don't see how opening up the ability to manage BlackBerry phones off of BES is a really good thing. Seems like they would be losing a key differentiator and competitive advantage in the MDM space.

I see it being a positive thing from the perspective of employees being able to showcase the unique benefits of BB10 in the workplace, which may lead to a higher adoption rate by corporations, which in turn could extend to the consumer marketplace. However, if the phones sales don't increase as a result of this move, then they may be cannibalizing their MDM offering, which would be detrimental to future growth if they truly want to be a software and services company, and not a handset company.

Posted via CB10

^ which "individual customers" will purchase Mobile Iron, AirWatch, Trellia, etc?! Which ... whom ... and most importantly HOW and is it COST effective to the end customer?

weak rebuttal really. It simply IS a disincentive for companies to choose BES. I'll read the next article to see but it looks like BlackBerry is giving up on development. The ONLY real push for this decision is a) Microsoft, Novel (GroupWise), and IBM (Domino) are pushing HUGE future development of their servers into the cloud with restrictions that limit BES Service Accounts or ActiveSync (M$ licensing change coming down the pipe maybe) affecting future BES development.

Nasty change ... not liking it.

Very interesting, I think it would not be fair business practice to secure muti platform devices yourself and not allow others to do the same to yours. Besides if BB is as good as they claim it will only bring more business.

Correct BES is not the only MDM around. Let ppl have choice. Now an IT Admin can say well we can manage BB10 devices with our in-place MDM.

This is a great move.

This is a critical strategic move for the following reasons:

1) it divides the enterprise space into factions of those acknowledging BlackBerry's continued future in the space and those marketing FUD to IT managers about BlackBerry's pending demise. It essentially means that IBM, VMware, and Citrix are 'playing nice' (handshake competition) with BlackBerry whereas Good, Mobile Iron, Maas360, etc. (the BlackBerry 'haters') are now on the hit lists for the whole group.

2) it opens up partnership possibilities, joint app development, potential cross-investments, etc. These are the whales in the space, and BlackBerry as a company cannot afford to go head to head aggressively with these guys at this point. Chen is showing his chops at opening BlackBerry up for the future with strength and intelligence.

3) it acts as a general precedent and catalyst for other partnerships across all their business lines, and helps quash the negative themes in the media about BlackBerry going bankrupt as a company.

Posted via CB10

Well then BES12 has to be kickass good...

And like this they can prove to be able to deal with competition and do not rest on their past success... Good (not the competitor)

And in return, Good (the competitor) now has to prove that they would be able to deal with something else than apple... as they were wining since ages that BlackBerry is not open to manage by other vendors...


Ferrari ZetaTrenta - STA100-2

Oh and 4) it allows these companies to promote enterprise use of bb10 phones, particularly where they work together on joint security efforts that give the bb10 devices a selling point in comparison to the other phones. We all already know the core business advantages such as hub, eBBM, file management, etc.

Posted via CB10


I see this MDM move as a way to get more BB10 devices into the enterprises that are tied to IBM, Citrix, etc. for other reasons.

The important point is to get the BlackBerry devices into people's hands, which will show the superiority of the BB10 device-side systems. Then with an established device base, the BES sale becomes that much simpler where the operational and security features can be leveraged.

Posted via CB10

And 5) as mentioned, this likely also has to do with integrating fuse and the desktop across various EMM platforms. I'm more interested in what this product is ultimately going to look like now.

Posted via CB10

As the saying goes " if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"... you cannot control the world, but you can control yourself #BlackBerry

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry is changing the way they do business.

I hope that this is an indication of a balls out full steam ahead attitude at BlackBerry. Fortune favours the bold, well I hope it does.

Posted via CB10

Seems like a step in the right direction considering the BYOD trend... Now the >1% of us that have personal BB10's may be able to use them for work too (at work places not using BES) :D

I think this is good. They are stamping their brand over other brands. Those companies will then get a better perception of how they view BlackBerry again. That's if they perform well.

Posted via CB10

In principle a fair move from BB to allow access to other industry players. I don't have any idea how this will pan out in the long run. Guess time will tell.

Z10 STL100-1, OS

This would also give companies who have already switched from BES to another MDM platform a way to migrate back to BlackBerry as an end-to-end solution.

If they recently moved to another MDM platform they likely cannot switch to BES10/12 but they could bring back the BlackBerry devices and then move back to BES at a later date. Also much of the security issues aren't at the MDM level but at the device level and that's still where BlackBerry wins over iOS and Android.

Wasn't it already mentioned in a previous article that BES is the cheapest MDM solution? If you're not running BES that's probably not a wise choice but hey if it improves hardware sales...go for it.

Posted via CB10

I like this because, companies that insist on a solution other than BES will not force employees who are BlackBerry owners to switch. Also, with BES offering the most cost effective MDM solution, I don't see this being harmful.

Posted via CB10

NOT releasing BBM on other platforms is what caused the rise of WhatsApp, at the expense of BBM.
Just to point out that exclusivity isn't necessarily a good thing.
I think it's a good move, but BlackBerry should at least keep some MDM features exclusive for BES10/12.
Not to forget that the other MDM vendors don't have something like the BB NOC, which is still a unique selling point in my opinion.
Best case, this move will result in higher BB10 phone sales, while the BES10 customers don't migrate to other platforms.

I think it is smart. You want these companies to easily aquire BlackBerry into their network. One of my biggest issues is that my BB10 is not supported by my employer.

Posted via CB10

Might be better than BlackBerry 10 OS devices being left out. Furthermore, the accountability will be with the MDM provider as any problems would likely be cross platform.

Powered by BlackBerry Z30

I think this is great news. Unfortunately BlackBerry cannot call all the shots in the MDM space anymore. I take this as a real signal that BlackBerry is committed to it's handset business as well, since so many users, such as myself, are being given a hard time getting connected to their corporate networks. Our office almost went from a BlackBerry only shop to an "anybody but BlackBerry" because they couldn't upgrade before BES10 was ready to support Android and iPhone and now windows. Tragic really. I managed to salvage some BlackBerry connections by using Android versions of their MDM software but would be able to push BlackBerry as a business device again if it can be properly connected to the network without workarounds.

It's a good thing, we held onto BBM for too long and gave other IM apps a chance to get ahold. However BlackBerry are still looking at selling and marketing the 4 new phones still in the pipeline therein lies my concern, can BlackBerry really guarantee the same level of security on other devices made by other Companies.

100% BlackBerry

Ugh. I saw this and was so excited but then looked and saw Mobile Iron isn't included.

Posted via CB10


At last, should have happened a year ago but this will aid adoption of BB10 phones in the workplace where another MDM solution, not BES10, is already in place and is not going away.

Posted via CB10 on Z30 STA100-2 / on O2 UK - Activated on BES10.2.2

How could this not be anything other than a positive move? It's safe to say that BB10 devices are not selling BES licenses (i.e. No one is switching to BES only because they really want to support BB10 devices), so the only effect here is creating a friendlier environment for BB10 devices.

Posted via CB10

This is a good move. Finally, BlackBerry owners will not be forced to abandon their devices for Android or iPhones. This will improve sales of BB10 phones.

Posted via CB10

I think this is good.

If you look at the device business and the enterprise software business, they have to be separate to survive.

But, they stand to gain far more device business this way then lose bes business.

I don't think that anyone is holding on to bes because of BlackBerries. And if they are, BlackBerry isn't going to keep that customer long term by locking them in.

But, there might be some people out there who would to use BB10 but their companies won't support it. That's hurting the device business.

The question is, how is BlackBerry going to get Good and Mobile Iron and Airwatch to supprt BB10.

Does this mean that AFARIA could not support BlackBerry 10 devices was because BlackBerry was not open to other MDM platforms? Or did not share its OS?

Posted via CB10

They are getting ready to cut the company into pieces and sell them.

This is the official declaration of entering litigation mode.

On a second thought this is the best move in the worst situation. The device team and the BES team just can't work together. And John can't make them all together either. Then the best solution is to cut blackberry I'm pieces.

So consider this the best choice out of the sad reality.

I bet BlackBerry will announce a break-up within 3 months.

Well I work for a huge company (120k +) and we've recently rolled out a competing MDM system. We do BYOD and BlackBerry is not supported - because it wasn't open. Once the deadline passes I'd have to get another phone if interested in continued access to enterprise email etc. And since I've historically used only one phone that means dropping the Z10. Opening up BB10 to other MDM only makes sense. The days of dictating to customers are kinds over for BlackBerry. #adaptandlive.

Posted via CB10

Just proves that BlackBerry is still king of security. We will allow outside management of the devices because they are top notch!

Posted via CB10

Big mistake. Security was one of the salient features of the BB10 OS. Allowing all these other companies access to that will come back to haunt them!

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!

Can someone summarize what exactly "Mobile Device Management" means. Is BlackBerry open source now? Sorry, but I'm not getting the bigger picture.

Cool. My organisation has opted for air watch. To date no BlackBerry 10 support :( . This is good news.!


As long as the bb10 devices offer proper 'sandbox space' for Android apps, and of course, continue to have security provisions for their own native apps, I don't see how this is a problem from a market share and security stand-point.
Outside malware or attacks may be able to break through less secure containers like Airwatch or other non-BES solutions, but they would have to get through the BlackBerry baked-in security layer to pose a risk, yes?

Anyone want to correct me on that?

... Second thoughts are that if bb10 devices get adopted in by some smart folks willing to give bb10 a try while under a competing MDM system, this may open the door for future BlackBerry device sales.

All BlackBerry has to do is continue to innovate; and cover their past failures.
So far under Chen, this is happening.

I am happy that they did open up.
I cannot download emails in my company bcoz the MDM does not support BlackBerry.
This prevents people from purchasing the new BlackBerry.
I know of a manager who had to switch from Z10 to a iPhone 5s "Candy Bar" (as he calls it) because emails/calender does not sync with Z10.

I hope one day to sync up Calender with my phone. (would not like company emails on Phone. Prefer work to be limited to Laptop)

Yes! The reason I came back to BlackBerry was that "Androids" lack security from hackers & Google search engine!!

Posted via CB10

I'm very worried about this move. Every move until this point I have been in favour of for the well-being of BlackBerry. This one, I'm not so sure about...

Posted via CB10

Tough, I think blackberry should be the only ones, but sometimes you gotta make decisions and choices.

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.