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Jul 22, 2014 New COO at BlackBerry another sign of software focus
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Yesterday BlackBerry announced that they've hired a Chief Operating Officer. The company has not had a COO since John Chen took over and cleaned house.

Remember when Thorsten Heins brought in his own management team including COO Kristian Tear who had tremendous experience from Sony Ericsson and Ericsson? Or how about the co-COO structure that worked very well for BlackBerry during its hyper growth phase? They had Don Morrison covering carrier relationships (he was formerly an AT&T guy) and Larry Conlee (an ex-Motorola guy) who was in charge of manufacturing.

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Jul 17, 2014 BlackBerry CEO John Chen heading up Security Summit on July 29th in New York
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BlackBerry has been doing a lot recently to reinforce the fact security is important in Enterprise mobility where they remain the market leader but to help push it even further, BlackBerry CEO John Chen and his senior leadership team, BlackBerry partners, customers and industry experts are hosting an exclusive Security Summit on July 29th in New York.

Discussions and demos will address today's security threats, future security risks associated with the Internet of Things, investments in mobile security and security imperatives for regulated industries such as healthcare, financial services and government.

Attendees will hear best practices for implementing secure mobile communications and learn about the latest steps BlackBerry is taking to reinforce its leadership in delivering the most secure end-to-end enterprise mobility solutions.

It's hard to say if there will be any announcements during the event but any time John Chen is around you never know what's going to happen. Unfortunately, I won't be attending the event personally but we'll be sending Adam to make sure we (and you all!) don't miss out on anything. Hopefully, John Chen will be willing to show off the BlackBerry Passport and Classic some more as well but we'll have to wait and see.

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Jul 16, 2014 Could the Apple/IBM enterprise mobility deal bring Microsoft or Google closer to BlackBerry?
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Yesterday IBM and Apple announced the start of a significant courtship that stands to forever change the landscape of enterprise mobility. In short, Apple and IBM launched an exclusive deal by which IBM will sell iPhones and iPads to its enterprise customer base, create iOS apps and services, and launch other cloud solutions including mobile device management (MDM).

That last bit … cloud hosted MDM … sounds a lot like it could be a major competitive threat to BlackBerry, right? That's how it's being represented across most of the media thus far. The street has reacted similarly as well, with BBRY shares trading down nearly 12% today. I don't think it's quite so cut and dry.

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Jul 11, 2014 BlackBerry stock is close to a new 52-week high
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Peek

In the weeks since BlackBerry's latest earnings announcement the stock has climbed significantly higher. It was trading in the $8 range (all figures in USD) prior to the quarterly news, and has now advanced to $11.43 as I write this. This week the stock reached a high of $11.63, which is very close to the company's 52-week high of $12.18.

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Jun 26, 2014 Google I/O brings security enhancements to Android, BlackBerry CEO reminds us why BlackBerry is still better at security
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Unless you were somewhere stuck without internet today, then you likely caught wind of Google's I/O conference where they announced several new things for that are in the works for Android. Android Wear, Android L, Android Auto, Android TV. Among all those announcements, Google also noted they would be stepping up Android's security and that apparently caught the attention of BlackBerry CEO John Chen who took to BlackBerry's own official blog to share his thoughts on it all.

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Jun 19, 2014 A busy day in the BlackBerry World
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Today was a pretty awesome day for BlackBerry and BlackBerry fans all around. Yesterday BlackBerry announced their partnership deal with Amazon and that was pretty awesome as well, but for some folks it felt like a precursor to some possibly bad news waiting within BlackBerry's earnings report. Get the good news out because there's probably some not so good news coming. However, anyone who did have that on their mind was pretty quickly proven wrong for even thinking that.

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Jun 18, 2014 BlackBerry earnings are on tap for tomorrow!
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First thing tomorrow morning BlackBerry will report Q1 results. It should be a great conference call since the company has officially launched the Jakarta phone and they've announced support for Amazon's app store in OS 10.3, which I think could go a long way to resolving many of the most common consumer complaints. But more on that in a separate piece.

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Jun 17, 2014 A little update on Thursday's BlackBerry Earnings and AGM coverage!
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AGM

Just a quick update for all the CrackBerry readers out there who are going to be paying close attention this Thursday to BlackBerry's earnings report and Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

I originally planned on making the trip to Waterloo for the event as I have the past three years so I could attend the AGM in person. Unfortunately, turns out I forgot I have my own AGM to attend on Wednesday night that I can't miss which screws up getting me to Waterloo in time for the event (advice: avoid being President of your condo board at all costs).

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Jun 13, 2014 I'm going to Waterloo next week for BlackBerry's Annual General Meeting of Shareholders... what do you want me to ask?!
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BlackBerry AGM!

It's time for my annual pilgrimage to Waterloo, Canada, the birthplace and hometown of BlackBerry, to attend the company's Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

This will be my fourth year attending the AGM and John Chen will be the fourth CEO to take the stage in as many years. We were there for the end of the Mike Lazaridis / Jim Balsillie co-CEO reign and we were there for the Thorsten Heins era has he worked to bring BlackBerry 10 to market. This year we'll hear from John Chen, now just over six months on the job, as he works to rebuild value for shareholders.

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Jun 12, 2014 BlackBerry annual shareholder meeting to be held on June 19th
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Peek

To go along with the First Quarter Fiscal 2015 results on June 19th, BlackBerry will also be hosting their annual shareholder and special meeting that day as well at 10:00am EDT in Waterloo, Ontario. The event will be webcast for all to tune into via the BlackBerry Investor Relations site.

From a CrackBerry standpoint, Kevin will be in attendance to hopefully catch up with BlackBerry CEO John Chen as a six-month follow up to our CES 2014 interview and find out what has changed within BlackBerry since then. We'll likely also fire up a live blog or two, so stay tuned!

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Jun 11, 2014 BlackBerry to consider making a phablet to drive growth
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BlackBerry CEO John Chen

BlackBerry CEO John Chen indicated that a phablet may be the next growth driver for the Canadian manufacturer as it looks to regain its market share.

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Jun 05, 2014 BlackBerry to announce First Quarter Fiscal 2015 results on June 19
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BlackBerry

Mark your calendars for June 19. That's the day BlackBerry has set to announce their fiscal 2015 results for the first quarter. The first financial quarter for BlackBerry just ended last week, on May 31.

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Jun 04, 2014 Should BlackBerry bring back Unite as a multi-platform management tool?
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Parental Controls

Several years ago BlackBerry started a secret project to bring BES-like features to families. This was way back when the iPhone didn't even have copy and paste yet, the iPad didn't exist and Android had next to no market share. BlackBerry was still king of the smartphone world so the idea of going cross-platform wasn't terribly important yet.

BlackBerry Unite offered families a way to install software on a PC and benefit from a shared contact list and calendar, photo and file sharing and user management. Parents could also act as system administrators. There was a lot of potential behind the product and although it was executed well from a software perspective, the marketing was non-existent.

The project was shut down.

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May 28, 2014 BlackBerry CEO John Chen speaks on new devices, developers and taking BlackBerry back to its roots
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As part of the Code/Conference taking place, BlackBerry CEO John Chen sat down with Walt Mossberg and Ina Fried to discuss what's happening at BlackBerry. On the list of topics covered was new devices, new verticals, developers and how BlackBerry is returning back to its Enterprise roots in order to get the company healthy again and once again reiterated that the company is nowhere near dead but is does have a lot of problems he's hoping to be able to fix.

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May 19, 2014 John Chen wants BlackBerry to be more than niche
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BlackBerry CEO John Chen

BlackBerry CEO John Chen sat down for an interview recently, speaking broadly to concerns about the company and his personal history and management style. Specifically, he addressed the forecast of BlackBerry becoming a niche business solution that we wouldn't see on store shelves. Chen obviously recognizes the bring your own device movement in enterprise, saying "today's consumer is tomorrow's enterprise," and elaborates on the potential to dial back consumer efforts.

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May 15, 2014 Bert Nordberg stepping down from BlackBerry board next month
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BlackBerry

BlackBerry board member Bert Nordberg won't be seeking re-election to his seat next month. A recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reveals that Mr. Nordberg won't be staying on as a board member with BlackBerry and will opt instead to step down.

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May 14, 2014 Prominent investment group Kahn Brothers increase stake in BlackBerry by 80%
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BBRY on the stock market

Prominent investor Irving Kahn has increased his firm's stake in BlackBerry from 250,000 shares to 450,000. The Kahn Brothers group generally invests in unpopular stocks, and BlackBerry certainly qualifies. Seeing as Irving is 108 years old, he probably has a pretty good radar for companies that will ultimately make it in the long haul.

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May 13, 2014 BlackBerry has 4 new devices in the works, no wearables in sight
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Peek

BlackBerry unveiled the new BlackBerry Z3 in Jakarta earlier today, and in addition to showing off the latest device, CEO John Chen also dropped word on what is (and isn't) on the current roadmap. In addition to the BlackBerry Classic which we should see later this year, BlackBerry also has a few more new devices in the works — both full-touch and keyboard.

There are still plenty of rumors about what new devices we'll see from BlackBerry, the biggest of which is the BlackBerry Windermere. Chen said that working with Foxconn, we could see a new high-end, flagship device as well.

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May 12, 2014 BlackBerry: The Future is Yours
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Peek

With the recent press release of BES10 being the most cost-effective MMS for Enterprise customers against the competition, BlackBerry has strategically maneuvered their way into a brilliant position for enterprise by offering unmatched security and world-class service at the most affordable rates.

If you pair this amazing advantage with BlackBerry's EZ Pass Program, where IT managers receive free perpetual BES10 Silver licenses for all BlackBerry and other active MDM licenses on a 1 for 1 basis with technical support (until January 31, 2015), it is an offer businesses and companies alike will be hard-pressed to refuse.

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May 08, 2014 Strategy Analytics says BlackBerry is the cheapest, lowest risk EMM platform
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On BlackBerry's last quarterly conference call, CEO John Chen said that customers are responding well to the product plans that the company has shared with its enterprise customers. Chen described a customer base that is willing to wait to see what arrives from BlackBerry in November of this year.

Today BlackBerry was featured as the winning vendor in a new report from Strategy Analytics. I haven't yet had a chance to read the entire 54 page report, but it appears to be pretty detailed and analyzes most of the competition including Good, Airwatch, Mobile Iron and Citrix.

A press release with some good summary information on the report is included at the end of this post for your reading pleasure.

The report looks at two main scenarios. The first is companies building a enterprise mobile management (EMM) platform from scratch, while the second is a company migrating from BES 5 to either BES 10 or a competing solution. The analysis is conducted on a 5-year total cost of ownership (TCO) basis.

Strategy Analytics says that its report shows "BlackBerry offers an implementation and service package which is substantially cheaper than any of its competitors for the commercial grade EMM package", and goes on to describe how this isn't promotion-driven, but instead based on the single package pricing that BlackBerry offers.

Here's the big picture conclusion provided in the executive summary:

"Overall, Strategy Analytics findings suggest that BlackBerry is a strong choice for companies seeking lowest cost of ownership, particularly when there is also a need for a high level of trusted security. On intangible cost factors, no single player can claim to have achieved leadership across all areas. "

In the case of upgrading to BES 10 from BES 5, BlackBerry scores points in the TCO study because of the EZ-Pass program and by providing BES 10 software at no cost. They're also providing free licenses on BES 10 when a customer can show they've purchased a license from another MDM vendor. So BlackBerry is being aggressive.

Strategy Analytics calculates that it's significantly cheaper to migrate from BES 5 to BES 10 instead of migrating to any of the competing products, as shown here:

Hopefully BlackBerry will get some mileage out of this report. At least they are asking potential customers to opt-in (with name, email, phone number) to download a copy of it. I just can't help but think they'd get even more mileage if they did something a bit more interactive and personal instead of tossing a massive white paper at their audience.

I think the enterprise sales team would do well to read a copy of Chet Holmes, "The Ultimate Sales Machine". They'd be able to take this TCO report idea and leverage it into a actual sales with more effect.

Here's the full press release:

Editors Note: There are 2 figures accompanying this press release.

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 8, 2014) - BlackBerry Limited (BBRY)(BB.TO), a world leader in mobile communication, today announced that BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 (BES10) is the most cost effective multi-platform enterprise mobility management solution, according to a report by the global market research firm Strategy Analytics.

"Our detailed report found that the pricing offered by BES10 creates a lowest-cost migration path from a TCO perspective", said Andrew Brown, Executive Director, Enterprise Research at Strategy Analytics. "We attribute this to multiple factors, including the Enterprise Server License Trade-up program, the impact of BlackBerry Software Assurance across its Advanced and Premium support categories, and new tiered support categories."

The Strategy Analytics report, "Enterprise Mobility Management: A Review of Total Cost of Ownership,"1 found that BES10 is the lowest cost Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution based on a five year total cost of ownership (TCO). Migrating from BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5 (BES5) to a BlackBerry competitor is, on average, more than double the cost over five years than migrating from BES5 to BES10. The Strategy Analytics report went on to note that the "all inclusive" nature of the BlackBerry offering provides a tangible cost advantage which is then sustained throughout the TCO period.

"BlackBerry customers consistently tell us that cost, coupled with world-class security, is a top priority when choosing a multi-platform mobility management partner," said John Sims, President, Global Enterprise Solutions, BlackBerry. "The report exemplifies why BlackBerry is the only company that can support the full range of EMM requirements, from the most secure to the most open BYOD environments. Customers also recognize the additional security provided from our global NOC infrastructure. No other company has this range of capabilities and we will work diligently to earn the trust of enterprise customers globally."

Strategy Analytics analyzed the TCO of each solution and took into consideration multiple cost drivers, implementation, support and payment scenarios for enterprises migrating from BES5 to BES10 or to other mobility management platforms, as well as enterprises adopting an EMM solution for the first time.

Based on the report, BlackBerry ranked the strongest in these categories:

  • Lowest TCO for commercial EMM deployments: BlackBerry offers an implementation and service package that is substantially cheaper than any of its competitors for the EMM package. (See Figure 1)
  • Lowest TCO for EMM deployments in regulated and high-security environments: Even in a fully regulated environment where BlackBerry offers the highest form of security, it also proves to be the lowest cost solution based on a five year TCO.
  • Highest security: CIOs and IT decision makers listed BlackBerry as the most secure solution. The report concluded that competitors do not offer the same level of IT policies and compliance controls as BlackBerry and cannot deliver a similar end-to-end security model.
  • Scope of EMM capabilities: BES10 offers the most comprehensive set of capabilities for the broadest range of customers, including regulated, enterprise and SMBs. (See Figure 2)

BlackBerry EZ Pass Migration Program Gains Momentum

Customers are realizing the benefits and cost savings of the recently launched BlackBerry program, which provides free license migration and support for BlackBerry customers to move from BES5 and other MDM platforms to BES10.

Since the program launched on March 31, 2014, more than 800,000 BES10 client access licenses have been issued to customers worldwide. The enterprises participating in the program represent a cross-section of industries from financial services and healthcare, to telecommunications and government organizations. Migrations to BES10 include customers using other MDM vendors such as AirWatch, MobileIron and Good Technology.

The BlackBerry EZ Pass migration program is designed to help customers take full advantage of the BES10 multi-platform solution by seamlessly migrating from BES5 and includes access to BlackBerry's technical support services.

For more information about the BlackBerry EZ Pass migration program, please visit: www.blackberry.com/ezpass. For more information about BES10, please visit: www.bes10.com.

For more information about the Strategy Analytics report, please visit www.blackberry.com/tco.

To view the figures accompanying this press release, please visit the following links:

Figure 1: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20140508-BBRYFIG1800.jpg

Figure 2: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20140508-BBRYFIG2800.jpg

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May 05, 2014 BlackBerry's real estate sale to net CDN$305 million
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BlackBerry's real estate sale to net CDN$305 million

BlackBerry has been working to sell their real estate holdings in Canada for a few months now, and today they've got a buyer. Today brought the announcement that Spear Street Capital has agreed to purchase BlackBerry's more than 3 million square feet of real estate and vacant lands for CDN$305 million (US$278 million).

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Apr 29, 2014 The BlackBerry identity
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Android users buy specs, iPhone users buy brand, but BlackBerry users buy an experience. I have heard variations of such a statement throughout my time here in CrackBerry and it has me thinking if there is any substantial truth to it. As we consider where BlackBerry sits currently and moving forward, CEO John Chen faces one of the biggest challenges with the company, its perception.

If I could ask any one question to John Chen right now it would be, "What is BlackBerry's current identity in the world and what identity are you trying to create and achieve for it?" After meeting him it is evident that he is a very intelligent and capable man who can turn the company around to profitability, no question. But is this enough? Smarts, charisma and confidence can only get you so far.

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