Boeing, Morgan Stanley and Secusmart are among the BlackBerry customers that have signed up to test the latest version of the Canadian company's multi-OS enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, version 2 (BES10.2).
More than 30,000 customers around the world have installed BES10 commercial and test servers, BlackBerry said in a Dec. 3 statement, adding that that's because "it is the most proven and trusted [EMM] solution, supporting iOS, Android and BlackBerry smartphones."
"We've benefitted tremendously from BlackBerry's single, secure, multi-platform connectivity model to mobilize our business and empower our employees to be more productive and better equipped to serve our customers," said Christoph Quelle, CEO of Secusmart, a provider of highly secure mobile voice and data communication solutions (including to BlackBerry).
New features in version 10.2 include:
• Expanded Multiplatform Support: 10.2 includes Secure Work Space support for iOS 7 background email sync, API support for the automation of BES10 function for iOS and Android devices through BlackBerry Web Service, and dynamic support for iOS and Android OS updates.
• BYOD Enrollment for iOS and Android: Administrators can manage only the Secure Work Space container on iOS and Android devices, offering an assurance of privacy to workers who bring their own devices.
• Self-Service Portal: Reduces the number of calls to IT by enabling users to perform some device-management tasks on their own.
• Reduced Cost: Can scale to support 100,000 devices per domain, running any mix of mobile operating systems, reducing the number of servers and other resources required for large deployments.
BlackBerry has also introduced BlackBerry Software Assurance, a new service that helps customers upgrade to BES10 from older versions of BES. It's offered as an annual stand-alone subscription for customers who don't require much support and, for those who do, is included in BlackBerry's Advantage level or higher support package.
BlackBerry 'Very Much Alive'
BlackBerry made a dramatic announcement Nov. 4, saying via press release that instead of selling to Fairfax Financial Holdings, its largest stakeholder, it was accepting a $1 billion investment ("vote of confidence") from Fairfax and others and had hired John Chen, formerly of Sybase, to turn the company around. CEO Thorsten Heins was leaving, it added.
Later in the month BlackBerry announced that Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear, Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben and Chief Financial Officer Brian Bidulka were also leaving.
On Dec. 2 Chen penned a letter to BlackBerry's enterprise customers, promising that the investments they've made in BlackBerry infrastructure and solutions "are secure" and that BlackBerry's "for-sale sign has been taken down and we are here to stay."
Chen, who was brought on under the title of interim CEO and said to be "searching" for a permanent CEO, is also not going anywhere anytime soon, Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial and Lead Director and Chair of Compensation, Nomination and Governance at BlackBerry, told Reuters, according to a Dec. 4 report.
"John's committed for the long haul, he's an exceptional leader, he's going to do very well," said Watsa.
Chen told Reuters Nov. 4 that he planned to make changes to BlackBerry leadership, and he expects that turning around the company will take at least six quarters.