On Friday, Gartner analyst Bill Menezes told Computerworld in an email interview that the respected analyst firm is emphasizing that all Gartner clients need to ensure they have backup mobile data management plans, and test alternative devices to BlackBerry. The company then released a full eight page report, written by Ken Dulaney, for Garner clients that rely on BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers and/or BlackBerry smartphones, recommending three courses of action.
The report said that while BlackBerry is moving to go private, there will be few buyers of its smartphone hardware business, pushing the company to emphasize niche markets such as high-security. This hardware group may eventually be sold to a foreign government, or perhaps the local Canadian government. QNX, the backbone of BlackBerry 10, may even be refocused on the auto industry or the emerging Internet of Things.
"BlackBerry totally whiffed on the smartphone and consumerization of IT trends that Apple hit out of the park and that Android successfully has exploited," Menezes said on Friday. "BlackBerry failed to make timely moves and product introductions to keep itself in the consideration set for consumers who in the age of BYOD increasingly are shaping enterprise device and platform choices."
"Once it became clear to IT that iOS was a viable choice, it was game over for BlackBerry," Menezes added.
On Saturday BlackBerry responded, saying that given the recent news about the $965 loss in Q2 2013 and its agreement to a $4.7 billion buyout, the company recognizes and respects the opinions of external third parties. But many conclusions provided by Garner regarding the potential impact of the sale or other strategic alternatives are purely speculation, nothing more.
"BlackBerry is restructuring and pursuing strategic alternatives to increase its focus on its core enterprise business," reads the company response. "We remain steadfast in our mission to deliver the most secure and powerful mobile management solutions and smartphones to our customers."
"That commitment has been met with support from enterprises adopting BlackBerry and BES 10, which has more than 25,000 commercial and test servers installed to date, up from 19,000 in July," the statement continues. "BES 10 is also the only EMM [Enterprise Mobile Management] platform to be awarded 'Authority to Operate' on U.S. Department of Defense Networks. Everyone at BlackBerry is grateful for the ongoing support of our customers, and we are working harder than ever to keep it."
The three courses of action Gartner's report suggested on Friday include:
- Customers should move off BlackBerry devices completely.
- Customers should place BlackBerry on a "contain" status, meaning that users should be told that BlackBerry will be discontinued save for devices approved by management.
- Upgrades to BlackBerry 10 should be performed on a limited set of users including executives wanting keyboards and those with high security jobs.
The report also stated that enterprises should not use BES 10.
Kevin Parrish is a contributing editor and writer for Tom's Hardware, Tom's Games, Tom's Guide and Tom’s IT Pro. He's also a graphic artist, CAD operator and network administrator.
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