Nokia Joins Mobile Device Makers Kicking BlackBerry While It's Down

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-04-21 Print this article Print

Partly that's because Windows Phone does not have a security capability anything like BlackBerry phones. In fact, it doesn't even match Samsung's troubled Knox security. Especially in today's security atmosphere where new cyber-attacks are a daily event and where even long-trusted security systems are found wanting, reliable security is more precious than ever.

While Microsoft's version of SSL [Secure Sockets Layer] wasn't involved in the Heartbleed bug, the fact is that Microsoft's encryption and security haven't been as relentlessly assaulted as has BlackBerry, where state-sponsored hackers and intelligence services have tried to crack its encryption and failed. Remember the screams from the governments of India, Oman and other states promising to ban BlackBerry? This is why.

But even if Knox security wasn't having problems, it still lacks an end-to-end management system that comes with BlackBerry Enterprise Services 10. Worse, while BES 10 can manage BlackBerry devices, along with Android and iOS devices (and eventually Windows Phone devices), Knox can do none of these—it's brand specific to Samsung—and only to some of that company's devices.

So where does this leave BlackBerry? As nice as its security profile may seem, it's not exactly in the catbird seat. In fact, it's closer to being in the hot seat. Just because a variety of vendors taking aim at BlackBerry now haven't hit the mark doesn't mean they won't eventually. There will come a time when some company, somewhere, will field a management and encryption system that's the equal of BlackBerry.

In fact, the only thing that would even slow down the launch of a BES equivalent would be if BlackBerry, flailing for help as the company sinks beneath the accumulated weight of its own failures, sells off BES and the BlackBerry global network to a stronger player.

Who might that stronger player be? Obviously, it's impossible to say given the many variables in this business. But if I were to pick, the logical answer is Microsoft. The Redmond, Wash., giant has been working to become an all-encompassing enterprise mobile system for years and it's about to take over ownership of Nokia. Yes, the same Nokia that's urging people to drop BlackBerry in favor of its much sexier phones.

In fact, Microsoft may be the only company that really could absorb BES in a credible way. But that's by no means a foregone conclusion. Right now BlackBerry is suffering the unkind cuts of its fellow device makers, and those cuts alone may take enough of a toll on BlackBerry that it could slip quietly away, leaving nothing, not even its network, behind.


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