BlackBerry Must Make More Deals Like Samsung Security Partnership
NEWS ANALYSIS: A year ago CEO John Chen said BlackBerry would change from a device maker to a software company that also made some devices. The new Samsung deal shows he is making progress.BlackBerry CEO John Chen took the long-anticipated step of announcing the next phase in its transition to a software company on Nov. 13 with a new partnership with former rival Samsung. The big news is that Samsung's Knox enterprise security system will be integrated with the release of BlackBerry Enterprise Server 12 (BES12), due out in January. Samsung's Knox was probably the best known and most prominent competitor to BlackBerry. Samsung is one of the companies that relegated BlackBerry to the position of an also-ran in the mobile phone sales race. Samsung is currently the leading producer of mobile devices since it long ago overtook Apple in the number of devices sold. Samsung has gone from mobile hardware rival to software partner now that the two companies have agreed to integrate Samsung Knox into BlackBerry Enterprise Server 12 and into the company's Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) system. While earlier versions of BES would work with Android and iOS devices, the new partnership with Samsung takes the integration a step farther. Moreover, it acknowledges Samsung's position in the enterprise. In addition, the integration between Knox and BES brings BlackBerry the ability to completely separate the work and personal sides of a mobile device.
Previously, such separation was only possible with BlackBerry Balance, which ran only on BlackBerry 10 devices. The new WorkLife product accomplishes the same capability with Android, but it also allows a mobile device to have two phone numbers, one for work and one for personal use by implementing a virtual SIM (subscriber identity module).