BlackBerry Buying Good Technology to Grow Mobile Security Expertise
Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, said that this acquisition makes sense, noting that he hasn't liked much of anything that BlackBerry has done in the last five years. "This is the direction that they should have been going more quickly in terms of realizing that their unique value-add is in software services and security for mobility. The challenge, though, is that they do this at a point of weakness as opposed to strength had they done this four or five years ago." In July, BlackBerry acquired AtHoc, which provides secure, networked crisis communications for a wide range of clients including governments, the military, enterprises and first responders. The price of that deal was not disclosed. The AtHoc acquisition followed BlackBerry's purchase of secure enterprise file-sync-and-share vendor WatchDox in April; its purchase of Movirtu, a U.K. startup whose specialized software enables a smartphone to have more than one phone number, in September 2014; and its July 2014 acquisition of Secusmart, a German software company that specializes in anti-eavesdropping and high-security voice and data products and services. Over the last several years, BlackBerry has been moving to transform itself into an enterprise security software company from its former role as a hardware maker for business users. The company's fall from dominating the enterprise smartphone market has been swift and stunning. In early 2006, before the first iPhones appeared from Apple, half of all smartphones sold were BlackBerry models. By 2009, though, its share of the global smartphone market was down to 20 percent. The company continues to face growing competition from Apple, Samsung, Google and others.In August, reports circulated that BlackBerry will launch its first Android smartphone later this year, as the company continues to fight to gain market share and new customers in a global smartphone market that Apple and Samsung dominate. Dubbed Venice, the smartphone will run an unknown version of Android and will be available from the big four mobile carriers in the United States—Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile—sometime in November, according to a previous eWEEK report.
In the first quarter of 2015, BlackBerry's worldwide market share fell to 0.3 percent, compared with 78 percent for Android and 18.3 percent for iOS, according to a recent report from IDC. Windows Phone has a 2.7 percent market share.