BlackBerry announced today that it has created a strategic partnership with Samsung to provide a tightly integrated, end-to-end secure mobile solution for Android. We asked John Sims, BlackBerry’s President, Global Enterprise Services and Greg Wade, Vice President of Samsung’s KNOX Business Group why the companies chose to partner and what it will mean for enterprise customers.
Why have you chosen to partner?
John Sims: Like everything we do, the decision was guided by the needs of our customers. There are many enterprises that purchase mobile technologies from both BlackBerry and Samsung. In the case of BlackBerry, enterprises have known BES for many years; it’s a trusted solution that has proved its value and maturity in the marketplace. Companies have invested time and resources integrating BES into their IT infrastructure, are trained on it, and trust it. Many of those same customers have — or are considering — adding Samsung devices into their mix.
Greg Wade: Both Samsung and BlackBerry have often heard from customers that they would be very interested in being able to manage and secure KNOX-enabled Samsung devices directly from their BES infrastructure. We’ve listened. In early 2015, we’ll be able to offer our customers an integrated, end-to-end secure mobility solution that brings together BlackBerry’s strengths in EMM and secure infrastructure and the enhanced hardware and software features include in Samsung Galaxy devices, embedded with KNOX.
BlackBerry Enterprise President John Sims (left) and Samsung Knox Vice-President, Greg Wade speaking at the BlackBerry Enterprise Portfolio Launch on Nov. 13.
What is the nature of this partnership?
John Sims: It’s a strategic partnership aimed at meeting the increasingly complex needs of our enterprise customers. One of the first tangible results of this collaboration will be a tightly integrated, end-to-end secure mobile solution for Android.
Greg Wade: It will provide enterprise customers with a new option: an integrated solution that brings together BES12: a cross-platform EMM solution by BlackBerry, BlackBerry’s secure network infrastructure and Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets that are embedded with Samsung KNOX.
What’s next for this partnership?
John Sims: The collaboration between BlackBerry and Samsung is based on a simple principle: meet our enterprise customers’ needs. In many cases, we can do that far more effectively by working together. We’re excited to work with partners like Samsung on what that might mean in the future.
Greg Wade: Our first step will be to bring to market this integrated end-to-end secure solution. Beyond that, as John says, both partners are interested in exploring further opportunities where we can work together to provide more value and more choice to our customers.
Is this a sign BlackBerry intends to exit the devices business?
John Sims: No, not at all. BlackBerry devices are designed from the ground up with productivity and security in mind. There are users who absolutely love the BlackBerry keyboard, the BlackBerry Hub and the productivity-focused form factor of devices like the BlackBerry Passport.
When we talk to customers, what they tell us is that they need a wide variety of mobile solutions to meet a growing range of needs within their organization. Within that range of needs, there is definitely still a place for BlackBerry devices.
How does this solution compare to an all-BlackBerry solution: BES12 managing BlackBerry 10 devices?
John Sims: Both options provide a highly secure, end-to-end mobile solution. Each has its strengths; the best option will depend on a customer’s specific needs when it comes to security, compliance, productivity and cost. Today’s announcement means that customers have an expanded range of options to choose from — our goal is to ensure enterprises can work with BlackBerry to find the right solution for their specific needs.
Greg Wade: The reason this partnership made sense to us is because it gives us both the chance to offer something new to customers that we really think helps both BlackBerry and Samsung answer a much broader cross section of our customer’s needs.