BlackBerry Fact Check is a place for BlackBerry to set the story straight on our products and our company. We are in a volatile, fast-moving industry, and misinformation – whether the source is a competitor, an analyst report or simply a rumor –creates uncertainty. In light of the inaccuracies and misleading comments flooding the public domain where BlackBerry is concerned, our best offense is to present the facts directly, and you can find them with #BBFactCheck.
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Good Technology announced a pilot of a split billing solution which it claims is a world’s first. Their announcement creates the impression that nobody in the industry is doing anything like it. Yet, BlackBerry announced WorkLife by BlackBerry back on November 13, a more complete solution that will be rolling out through carriers this year. Let’s take a closer look at what other important details are missing from Good’s announcement:
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Good’s solution seems to only apply to employee data — it doesn’t address voice or SMS. Yet, work phone numbers are an important company asset. When employees using a personal phone for work (BYOD) leave the company, they take their phone number with them—and customers, suppliers and other work contacts will keep calling the employee’s number, not the company’s. With WorkLife by BlackBerry, enterprises can assign a separate work number they own and control, and re-assign it to another employee device any time. Now work phone calls are made to the company, not the person.
Of course, WorkLife by BlackBerry also addresses the split billing issue. But, rather than only addressing data, WorkLife also makes it easy to split the cost of voice minutes, SMS and data used for work vs. used for personal. Companies are automatically billed for work related usage on the work line while employees pay directly for their personal usage. With a simple switch, employees can choose which line they want to use when placing a phone call, sending an SMS or using data like browsing the web or using apps.
For companies issuing corporate devices, WorkLife also allows employees to have both a work and personal line on a corporate phone, ending the need to carry two devices. And WorkLife offers a number of other key advantages, including straightforward billing and the ability to maintain split billing while roaming.
Good’s solution doesn’t address voice or SMS charges. It doesn’t ensure customer contact happens through phone numbers controlled by the company. And, it only partially creates a clear separation between all work and personal activities — unless, of course, your company doesn’t talk to anyone on the phone or SMS. As a solution it’s incomplete.
Don’t just chip away at part of the problem. Find a complete solution that gives employees separate work and personal phone numbers, SMS and data all on one smartphone: www.blackberry.com/worklife.
On Wednesday afternoon, MobileIron announced their Q3 2014 earnings and their CEO Bob Tinker added color to the results during a Q&A with investors. So today we need to set the record straight with a #BBFactCheck of a few careless comments by Tinker.
“As the requirements of customers expanded from MDM to mobile application management, mobile content management and data security in motion, the customer requirements expanded. At the same time, the competitive landscape has significantly narrowed.
If you’d asked me six months ago, I’d say the competitive landscape had really narrowed to four. At this point, it’s really narrowed down to two. We don’t see Good very often. We see Citrix fading. The only one we really see competitively is us and VMWare/AirWatch. And again, they tend to be more focused on the SMB side of the business.”
While the EMM landscape continues to evolve, the biggest challenge for MobileIron will be to keep up. With yesterday’s reported cash burn rate and the limited amount of money the company has in the bank, one must call into question their ability to deliver new products and services to keep up with this rapidly changing and demanding market.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry has a comfortable cash position, and we have led and will continue to lead in what matters most for customers: security, multi-platform capabilities and value-added services. Our support footprint for our customers and our channel partners is global, not North American-centric. And, we are connected into over 675 carriers around the world, and in addition to our EMM solution, we operate a secure global network infrastructure that supports the global footprint that our customers require.
“Generally we are seeing less price aggressiveness from the one competitor we see the most, AirWatch. The exception is legacy players we see, like BlackBerry and Microsoft, who try to give their stuff away for free because they have no choice.”
BlackBerry’s EZ Pass migration program was implemented not because we had to, but to give our loyal customers an easy way to upgrade to BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10). And we do have a choice when it comes to this promotional effort – in fact, EZ Pass has been so successful that we are considering ending the program early.
Even if Tinker disagrees with our current migration program, he can’t deny its effectiveness. More than 3.4 million licenses have been traded in to-date, including 840,000 from competitors including MobileIron. Regardless, BlackBerry has an install base that is many times that of MobileIron.
“BlackBerry migration is alive and well.”
The truth is, some IT executives are experiencing “a nightmare” dealing with competitive platforms and their end users want BlackBerry back. The FUD that Tinker’s marketing team has been pushing is no longer relevant. And, you’ll notice Tinker doesn’t even mention security in his FUD because the industry still regards BlackBerry as the gold standard in that category. We have re-energized our base of customers and supporters and the market is ready for BlackBerry to lead the industry into a new era for enterprise mobility.
In this week’s Throwback Thursday (#TBT) post, we will focus on a CNN Money article from October 2, 2013, Oops! BlackBerry even worse off than it thought. Reading their words today it’s clear: a lot can happen in less than a year. Let’s take a look at what CNN Money said — and where BlackBerry is today.
CNN Money, October 2013:
“BlackBerry (BBRY) said the 4,500 employees it is laying off by the end of the year will cost $400 million — four times as much as the company had previously expected. That’s particularly bad news, since BlackBerry is racking up giant quarterly losses and rapidly burning through its cash.”
Turnarounds are challenging. But, tough action was taken — and the result is that BlackBerry today is in much better financial shape than it was a mere four quarters ago. BlackBerry’s restructuring process has ended and certain areas of the business will be looking to hire new employees excited about driving the business forward.
CNN Money, October 2013:
“Wednesday’s financial release was an update to its latest quarterly report on Friday. BlackBerry announced a $965 million quarterly loss, which included a $934 million charge for unsold BlackBerry Z10 devices, the first phone launched on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.”
At the most recent earnings call, John Chen said he expected BlackBerry would be cash flow neutral by the end of this fiscal year. More importantly, analysts are convinced that BlackBerry can deliver. The Financial Post reported that CIBC World Markets analyst Todd Coupland actually expected BlackBerry to be cash flow positive by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015 (quarter ending February 28, 2015).
CNN Money, October 2013:
“The company is also quickly losing its appeal in key markets … customers in typically loyal international markets are switching allegiances to Google (GOOG) Android devices.”
CNN Money couldn’t have predicted that BlackBerry would partner with Foxconn to get a new phone aimed at fast-growing markets — the BlackBerry Z3 — ready to launch quickly and efficiently. And, we were very proud when the BlackBerry Z3 sold out on the first day it was launched in Indonesia.
CNN Money, October 2013:
“BlackBerry also said consumers are looking for devices with the largest number of apps. That’s definitely not BlackBerry’s forte.”
We’ve heard consumers’ pleas for more apps on BlackBerry devices. When the BlackBerry 10.3 OS update launches later this year, the Amazon Appstore will be available to BlackBerry users. Now users can watch movies on Netflix, snag deals on Groupon and share crafty ideas on Pinterest while also still enjoying the popular business and productivity-focused apps available in BlackBerry World. We’re continually looking to provide users with more choice and the combined power and of the Amazon Appstore and BlackBerry World will do just that.
CNN Money, October 2013:
“Long delays in the BlackBerry 10 platform have angered corporate IT departments, which like to deploy new BlackBerry phones and software together. Many business professionals have been demanding Apple (AAPL) iPhones and Android devices for years.”
Recognizing that our enterprise customers have embraced diversity, so have we: BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10) not only manages BlackBerry devices — it also helps companies secure their iOS and Android devices. This fall, we will launch BES12, which will add support for managing Windows Phone devices.
BlackBerry is the only enterprise mobility management solution that can support whatever device approach an enterprise wants to take — from the most secured Corporate Owned, Business Only (COBO) approaches, all the way to more flexible Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. More importantly, it can accommodate different policies as needed for different employees across multiple platforms — all from a single console.
Enterprise customers are embracing this open approach. Through our EZ Pass program, more than 2,600 enterprises have claimed 1.2 million client access licenses for BES10. Companies are also continuing to migrate over to the BlackBerry platform from competitors. Under EZ Pass, more than 100,000 client access licenses have been traded in from competitors such as MobileIron and Good Technology. All licenses claimed under the EZ Pass program will be entitled to a free upgrade to BES12.
We can go on — and we will in future #TBT posts. The point is, despite a very challenging situation, the current BlackBerry executive team has made the difficult choices needed to stabilize the company and prepare for the future. With a solid business plan and exciting new products and services coming to market, BlackBerry is looking to the future — the one that CNN Money (and others) were convinced we didn’t have.
In a July 10, 2014 blog post, Good Technology claims that it was the first to provide an “enterprise class secure browser to deliver support for Proxy auto-configuration files,” more commonly known as PAC files. Enterprise users that have multiple proxy servers may use PAC files to access URLs via web browsing or other applications. To simplify, just as a TV guide tells you what channel to select for a specific program, a PAC file will tell the device which proxy server to use to reach a specific URL destination.
Good needs a #BBFactCheck.
BlackBerry has been supporting PAC files on BlackBerry devices for years. We had it way back in 2003 with BlackBerry OS. So of course our latest platform, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, supports PAC files – BlackBerry 10 OS starting on January 31, 2013, Secure Work Space for iOS on October 9, 2013 and Secure Work Space for Android on June 26, 2014.
With an 11-year difference between BlackBerry and Good support of PAC files, it’s inaccurate for Good to claim that they were the first. Even if they were only comparing from an Enterprise Mobility Management perspective, we still have them beat.
This is another example of Good’s marketing being misleading– which should not be “Good Enough” for customers looking for a mobility partner.