BlackBerry’s PR efforts, which have in the past been accused of being aloof, has taken a feisty and personal turn with its new “BlackBerry Fact Check” blog.
A post from yesterday entitled “BlackBerry Fact Check Asks Good and MobileIron CEOs: Are You Sure?” continued the company’s battle for the hearts and minds of enterprise clients and set its sites on two familiar foes; MobileIron and Good Technology. The unbylined piece takes issue with recent comments from the heads of the respective companies.
BlackBerry says recent comments from Good CEO Christy Wyatt are simply out of date. Wyatt last month told Diginomica that clients are using workarounds to BlackBerry’s restrictive enterprise platform, such as forwarding an email to their own Gmail account.
“The way that [BlackBerry] ensured bad data didn’t get on the devices, they just prevented you from putting anything on the device. So IT managers when they ended up on BlackBerry devices pretty much shut everything off,” said Wyatt. “If you try to say, ‘OK, I’m not going to buy you a BlackBerry device, I’m going to buy you an iPhone or an Android device,’ it’s very easy to believe that the way you then secure that device is, you try to replicate what BlackBerry did, through device management. The challenge with that is that you’re going to get the same user experience just on a different device, which is you’re going to turn off people’s Facebook, you’re going to turn off their cloud access, you’re going to tell them they can’t install things — and you’re going to get organ rejection by the end user.”
BlackBerry’s incredulous response began with four words: “Are You Sure Christy?”
“Your characterization of BlackBerry is really out of date,” continues the piece. “BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 allows users to have full access to sensitive corporate data and applications, while continuing to enjoy personal apps like Facebook. That’s true using BlackBerry Balance on BlackBerry 10 devices and Secure Work Space on iOS and Android devices. When BES12 launches in November, we’ll extend this capability to Windows Phone 8 devices as well.”
The other target of BlackBerry’s ire, MobileIron CEO Bob Tinker, told Barron’s he doesn’t even see BlackBerry at the table in deals anymore.
“We don’t actually see them [BlackBerry] inside competitive customer deals. We just don’t see them,” he told writer Tiernan Ray. “There’s probably two reasons for that. One, choice. CIOs want to bet on mobile IT that’s neutral. BlackBerry is a conflict of interest. And, two, enterprise mobility is a strategic decision, so they [IT] will buy the best product. BB is now just joining the party for platform independence three years late. One of the biggest arbiters of who is big is Gartner. We were in the leaders’ quadrant.”
But BlackBerry says it is partnering with the likes of AirWatch, Citrix, SAP and IBM to allow their MDM platforms to manage BlackBerry 10 devices, and is seeing people walk away in droves from Good and MobileIron.
“While we respect Gartner, we think the biggest of arbiter of ‘who is big’ is the customer,” says BlackBerry. “BlackBerry continues to have the largest customer base among all Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) platforms. And, interest in our secure EMM platform, BES10, continues to grow quickly as we’ve seen more than 2,600 enterprises — comprising 1.2 million devices —sign up to try BES10 through our new EZ Pass program, which launched just a few months ago. And Bob, we absolutely agree that IT decision makers should do their homework and buy the best product. That’s why we’re especially proud that more than 100,000 of licenses issued through EZ Pass were trade-ins from competing platforms such as Good Technology and, yes, MobileIron.”
Since taking the reigns of the company last November, new BlackBerry CEO John Chen has repeatedly underlined the importance of the enterprise to the Canadian company. At Recode’s “Code” conference in California recently, he admitted to journalists Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher that its efforts were a work in progress.
“We’re going back to our enterprise roots,” he said. “I don’t really want to comment on past management decisions, but we cast our net a little too broad. At the same time, we haven’t really added value to the enterprise space. “We’re going to have to tie ourself in some way — and I don’t know what the innovative way is yet — to preserve the BlackBerry value add of security, productivity and collaboration.”