BlackBerry previews cross-platform BYOD management solution
BlackBerry is developing a cross-platform, cloud-based enterprise mobility management solution promising businesses the tools to secure and manage both corporate and personal devices, signaling the embattled manufacturer's latest move to reassert its dominance in the enterprise segment.
The new EMM solution, announced Monday at the Gartner Symposium/ITExpo 2013 in Orlando, will offer businesses mobile device management and mobile application management services, alongside security standards and self-service capabilities for end users.
BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) said it will introduce a web-based administration console enabling IT departments to activate and deploy the service across devices running its BlackBerry mobile operating system as well as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android OS. Administrators may also secure, distribute and manage apps from digital storefronts including BlackBerry World, Apple's App Store and Google Play.
"The new cloud-based EMM solution will bring all the benefits of our on-premise offering, which is trusted by more businesses and governments around the world than any other enterprise mobility solution," said Stephen Bates, head of BlackBerry's Enterprise Business Unit.
BlackBerry has already initiated closed beta testing for the unnamed EMM solution, expected for commercial release by the end of November. BlackBerry will offer the service as a monthly subscription package that covers both the license and technical support. Pricing details were not disclosed.
BlackBerry devices accounted for only 1.8 percent of smartphones sold in the US during the three-month period ending in August 2013, according to recent data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. With iOS and Android dominating the consumer segment, BlackBerry has shifted its focus to the corporate sphere, expanding its BlackBerry Enterprise Service to manage and secure iOS and Android devices, as well as BlackBerrys, through its Secure Work Space platform.
According to Steve Brasen, managing research director at Enterprise Management Associates, BlackBerry maintains an enterprise market share of 38 percent among firms with more than 10,000 employees and a 33 percent market share among government and financial institutions.
BlackBerry said last month that it is writing off between $930 million and $960 million for unsold Z10 smartphone inventory and cutting 40 percent of its workforce. The company is holding talks with Google, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and SAP about selling all or part of itself, according to a Reuters report published late last week.
Gartner recently urged enterprises to look for alternatives to BlackBerry smartphones and enterprise mobility management platforms: "Gartner recommends that our [BlackBerry enterprise] clients take no more than six months to consider and implement alternatives to BlackBerry. We're emphasizing that all clients should immediately ensure they have backup mobile data management plans and are at least testing alternative devices to BlackBerry," Gartner analyst Bill Menezes said in an email interview with Computerworld.
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