BlackBerry, Samsung Alliance Could Save BlackBerry in Enterprise

NEWS ANALYSIS: The two phone companies may be divided by an ocean, but they're continuing to draw closer as they chase enterprise customers together.

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BlackBerry and Samsung are continuing to work together as a way for both companies to solve their enterprise market problems with the help of the other.

On one hand, Samsung has created the fashion-forward Galaxy S6, which will appeal to customers who want the latest thing. BlackBerry, meanwhile, has mobile security nailed down like no other mobile device maker.

But without Samsung, BlackBerry has a set of smartphones with limited appeal and weak application support. On the other hand, Samsung's in-house security solution, Knox, isn't getting the kind of reception in the lucrative enterprise market that the Korean technology giant wishes.

Worse, Samsung's reputation as a leader in mobile electronics was hurt by the lackluster Galaxy S5 and slowing sales across its mobile device line, particularly in its core Asia market. It badly needs the Galaxy S6 to be successful.

Samsung's snazzy new glass and metal design, which seems to have been intended to look as much like an iPhone 6 as possible, will draw some users, but in reality most enterprise users have their heads turned by functionality, not looks. This is where BlackBerry comes in.

BlackBerry's announcement at Mobile World Congress of a series of services and products designed exclusively for the S6 followed on the heels of the phone's introduction at the show in Barcelona, Spain.

When the S6 is delivered in April, it will include support for BlackBerry Enterprise Services version 12 in Samsung's Knox, which is its enterprise-level security suite. In addition, the S6 will get availability of WorkLife by BlackBerry, which is the software that allows the phone to be divided into a personal side and an enterprise side.

The WorkLife feature allows an enterprise mobile device manager application to control the enterprise side of the device, while not exposing the personal side to access by management. This capability was previously only available on BlackBerry 10 devices.

In addition, it eliminates the possibility of the enterprise manager wiping the employee's personal data when managing the work side of the device.

The BlackBerry software also gives the Samsung S6 the ability to have two different phone lines, one for personal and one for corporate use, something previously available only to BlackBerry devices.

In addition to providing a way to handle employee-owned devices while securing corporate data, BlackBerry is bringing its SecuSmart line of products to Samsung. This hardware encryption provides secure mobile voice communications that are reputed to resist interception by the National Security Agency surveillance systems.

The SecuSUITE software is already being used on BlackBerry 10 devices for protection against phone taps and other electronic eavesdropping, and it provides protection for data as well.

You may have noticed that these products are some of BlackBerry's crown jewels. Now that the company has withdrawn from competing in the consumer smartphone market, security has become BlackBerry's reason for existence. Without world-class security, the company has nothing.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...