BlackBerry's President of Enterprise talks about why they're opening up on MDM

BlackBerry Q10 and Z10
By Derek Kessler on 13 May 2014 12:15 pm EDT

BlackBerry's announcement today that they are opening BB10 to outside MDM platforms came as something of a surprise, so John Sims, President of Global Enterprise Services, took to explaining why BlackBerry is taking this route, and it all comes down to getting more customers who use mobile device management systems other than BES.

MDM is no longer a meaningful point of differentiation. The differentiation for BlackBerry in the future will be our ability to enable secure, productive mobile communications, collaboration and other applications. Additionally, we remain the only company who can provide customers the flexibility to choose between any of the popular policy models such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE).

The move might seem to undermine BlackBerry's flagship BlackBerry Enterprise Server product and service, but Sims is adamant that they're not throwing in the towel, saying that "our goal is to remain number one in [Enterprise Mobility Management]."

While the likes of AirWatch, Citrix, and IBM will be working with BlackBerry to bring the newly-opened BlackBerry 10 onto their support infrastructure, BES 12 already offers support for BB10 along with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Opening up BB10 means that corporate customers won't be as tied to BlackBerry's systems, yes, but it also means that those not already on BlackBerry's systems won't have to port over their entire IT infrastructure if they wanted to add BlackBerry 10 devices to their deployments.

Source: Inside BlackBerry

Derek Kessler Derek Kessler "Managing Editor of Mobile Nations" 89 (articles) 5 (forum posts)

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BlackBerry's President of Enterprise talks about why they're opening up on MDM


Came here for the one or two word generic "nice!" or "interesting!" comment as the first comment posted at the exact same time as the article, and now I'm disappointed... :'(


But seriously, I think it's a good idea. Some companies might want to allow BB10 devices but are not using BES and some people might have decided to upgrade to something else because their company didn't support BB10. Hopefully this translates to an increase, even slight, in BB10 sales...

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

Yeah this is a good idea. But may be too little too late. My employer just announced end of support for legacy BlackBerry devices and "limited " BlackBerry bb10 device support. They go so far as to pretty much recommend Android and iPhone devices.

(Despite the fact I've already shown that the bb10 devices can sync with the notes domino server just like any android device. I've been running fine for over a year now. )

Hopefully this move means direct and full notes/ domino server support will be just around the corner. Just like android and iOS device apps.

Posted via CB10

On the other hand it could just be a tacit acceptance of the fact enterprises have switched away from BES, and that it will damage hardware sales to enterprise not to support other MDM.

It's still hard to fathom why companies switch though. Their TCO goes up and security goes down.


I am actually surprised that this wasn't already the case. I mean, how many BB10 sales do you think they lost because customers decided to upgrade to a different platform since their company doesn't support BB10??

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

Not really a new move, just setting it back to how it was with BBOS. It is a smart move for them, they might sell additional devices. When it was closed off, they definitely wouldnt be selling any if they didnt work.

Also, Airwatch is the vendor of choice for the DoD Enteprise Email initiative. So this allows them to sell more BB10 devices into DoD and have them be able to connect.

I'm not sure this is entirely correct. I believe that BBOS was only supported in situations where BES 5 was installed. I believe this is different in that by giving Airwatch etc. the API's BB10 phones can be connected directly without BES 10 in the background. Currently Airwatch can support BB10 devices if you are also running BES 10 in the background which seems a little unnecessary and why IT admins were loathe to do it I think.

BBOS devices can be managed by several MDM providers. They have been able to for a LONG time. BB10 or ActiveSync was the only way to manage BB10 devices until now. Airwatch tying into BES10 is still just BES10 managing the device. This removes the need for BES10.

Well there will be a need for BES for companies that wish to use the specific features it provides: Balance, MDS etc. None of that will be supported via the API controls for the other MDM.

Now they have other MDM that can provide a base level of management for BB10 devices so if you have moved away from Blackberry you can still support the devices.

I asked this back when BES 10 rolled out and the reps sang a different tune so I'm glad to see they recognize their customers want choice and options. Now they need to MARKET the reasons why BES is the BEST.

Seems like a move made out of weakness or desperation, but Sims knows the reality on the ground better than we do, so it seems more likely than not that this is the best move, all things considered.

Obviously, BlackBerry wouldn't do this to be charitable. If Sims could have the market in a fish tank on his desk, he would. If we assume that BlackBerry are simply not locking down the enterprise world as folks have been banking on, this move makes complete sense. At least Sims isn't waiting until it's too late before giving up on hegemony and changing tactics.

Join the Cause @ BlackBerry Bootleg Marketing Channel - C003483F4

BlackBerry are losing handset sales in Enterprise where during BlackBerry's dithering years with legacy BBOS and BES5 companies switched handsets to another mobile platform and any one of several MDM systems that currently can't support BB10 phones. Hence this move, but as ever it's late.

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

Removing one more reason for companies to hate blackberry is always a good plan.

Maybe they're going with the motto of "if they use BB10 on their MDM servers, maybe the rest will sell itself once they see the value added of BB10 for productivity"

Posted via CB10

Or maybe they will not BlackBerry MDM anymore just like people in Indonesia don't need BB10 for BBM's a double edged sword.

Posted via CB10

I have a friend at General Mills who was /is going to be forced to give his Z10 ad they are switching to Air watch. Perhaps now he and any other BlackBerry 10 co-workers will be able to keep their phones!

Just go out and beat the other MDM companies at their own game.

Posted via CB10

Be everything to everyone. That's a good plan. Breakdown the barriers and become the simplest obvious choices.
The real route for BlackBerry success in the short term is selling software and services not hardware. The device business will always be there but not the driver of revenue.

Swiped with the BlackBerry Z30

Stumbled upon that one, too. Made it read "....already becoming available..." for myself, if that makes any sense.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

BlackBerry is finally opening up to the world, this is mature and a huge leap forward ...

Hats off to Chen ...

Posted via CB10

Blackberry showing their love knowing what goes around comes around while setting an example for other corporations to follow. Very refreshing.

Posted via CB10

For those perennial Chicken Littles who are constantly predicting the demise of and lack of company's interest in handheld devices, this move should be proof enough that the company is still committed to that product category.

Because there would be NO REASON WHATSOEVER for this policy change unless BlackBerry were trying to promote wider adoption of their handheld devices.

Good observation.

You don't open your systems and give away the whole basket, if you don't intend to sell the eggs, ahem... devices.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Great move.

This move allows those companies who operate MDM systems other than BES10 to bring BlackBerry 10 devices within their environment, without the need to support a second MDM.

Probably not because unfortunately with CrackBerry being born out of the consumer BlackBerry boom of the late 2000's they don't know a lot about MDM, BES10 and use of mobile devices in workplaces. This gives CrackBerry a problem going forward, it needs to shift some focus away from consumer BlackBerry usage.

Where's the nice guy with the beard they brought back to a podcast a few months ago? Forget his name but they need to make more use of him, knows more about MDM than the rest out together, and I'm not having a go at the team they know their stuff in their respective fields.

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

Yeah. With the recent announcement of 800,000 BES licenses sold and now this, I would have expected some posts from Craig Johnston.

He was announced, wrote a post, and hasn't been seen since (as far as I can recall).

Posted via CB10

That wasn't 800,000 licences sold unfortunately in the EZ Pass program, that was 800,000 licenses traded in, or given away for free in other words.

BES10's big problem at the moment is there's no shortage of people who want it for nothing and happy to use it for free, but not enough people follow through and actually buy CALs for devices. BES10 is bringing in only around 10% of the sales BlackBerry expected and need.

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

Giving more flexibility is a great move. BlackBerry doesn't need to show up to the party with a keg of beer, and is still welcome to come.

Posted via CB10

well.. my two cents would be:

a) no crutches allowed; all divisions of BB needs to perform and execute well. may galvanize the troops at BB Cortés style.
b) one of the most compelling features of BES / BB10, aka BB balance, will probably still a BES exclusive and not opened up via an API.
c) they really believe in the competitiveness of the feature set of BES and the prize its being sold at in the market place, and in the upcoming BES12.

damn.. I'm really excited for what will be launched alongside BES12.

Good move. New to BlackBerry from Android so not much history, but it seems BlackBerry was hiding in a fishbowl - not a good idea in the long term. This will lead to a better BlackBerry...

Posted via CB10

Hopefully BB10 users won't be pressured so much to switch to an iOS or Android work phone.

Posted via CB10

This is excellent news, now my company has no reason but to support BB10....hopefully they will.

Posted via CB10

This is an indicator that BlackBerry is in litigation mode. John Ching was hired for nothing but litigation. This is an inevitable given the owner is a financier.

This is the last straw that crashes BlackBerry's enterprise business.

What a sad day.

It's just something that needs to be offered to move forward. I kind of laugh whenever I read an article with anything to do with BlackBerry. It's always too little too late. It's never too late in my opinion. NEVER.


@Derek (our editor of this article)

- Please note: an MDM solution does NOT involve an Entire Infrastructure!! It's MDM and it's separate from PC/OSX management - very VERY FEW business tie in their MDM with their PC management infrastructure. Nor does the firewall, network, proxy, email server, VPN servers (Cisco ASA for example or RSA) has anything to do with MDM - well maybe network, email server, and firewall but NONE are dependant on the MDM solution.

With ActiveSync making major advances over the years since 2003 I think with iOS and Android continuiing to beat BB handset sales on a global scale BB is looking to off-hand internal development costs more than allowing the competition a piece of the pie.

PS: and no, just because VMWare purchased AirWatch back in January ... it doesn't affect BB's outcome to NOT do this move. Time will tell just how much this affects BlackBerry and I'm willing to bet more negative vs positive. The company I work for already uses Good for iOS management and I can assure you BES for Secure IOS blows and is so unstable they'll NEVER consider it again from BES. Moreover if the cost per user/seat per year for IOS management on Good came down to less than $10/user/year they'd heavily be considering their carrier move and move to going all BES10 would be rethought!!

[QUOTE] those not already on BlackBerry's systems won't have to port over their entire IT infrastructure if they wanted to add BlackBerry 10 devices to their deployments.[\QUOTE]

Chen seems to be all about stopping the bleeding before working on a long term solution, so this is how I quantify what is going on here:

If BlackBerry can mitigate users from dumping their BlackBerry devices (mainly BB7), in favour of iOS or Android, they can possibly slow the losses that are being realized.

This is a good bandaid for the said, but will only be effective as long as BlackBerry can 'bring-it' with the new devices, just around the corner.

Good move! My company uses AirWatch, and i would be happy to bring my own BB10 device to the network

IBM is stuck with BES 5 and 7. There was a pilot for BES 10 more than a year ago but nothing yet to come :/

Posted via CB10

Seems like a double edged sword, they may lose some BES, but may put BB10 in the hands of many others.


Is says nothing about the severity of the security issues (how much is at risk), and the exploitability of those (how easy is is to pull off a hack?).

Linux often had more issues by the sheer numbers, but Windows usually topped it in severity and ease of exploitability.

You'd have to go through the security issues one-by-one and check what the official sources really say.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "