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How BlackBerry Is Riding iOS and Android To Power Its Comeback 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-can't-beat-'em,-join-'em dept.
alancronin sends this excerpt from ZDNet: "... the trend that brutally undercut BlackBerry phones during the past five years — the 'bring your own device' movement — is now driving significant sales of BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES), the company's backend software. 'Our customers have been asking, "Can you just take what you've done on BlackBerry and put it on iOS and Android?"' said Pete Devenyi, BlackBerry's SVP of Enterprise Software. ... Secure Work Space will be an app in the Apple App Store and Google Play, pending approval from Apple and Google, respectively. It will include secure email, calendar, contacts, tasks, and document editing. It won't allow data leakage including copy and paste between Secure Work Space and the rest of the device. IT will be able to remotely wipe everything in the Secure Work Space without affecting any of the other apps or data on the person's device, in a BYOD scenario."
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How BlackBerry Is Riding iOS and Android To Power Its Comeback

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  • Copy and paste (Score:1, Insightful)

    by jcfandino (2196932)

    It won't allow data leakage including copy and paste between Secure Work Space and the rest of the device.

    So, it's not a bug. It's a feature!

  • I wonder why they are supporting the "dying tablet market" [slashdot.org]?
    • by IntermodalAgain (2926007) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:59AM (#43753421) Journal
      I think if the tablet market dies, it will die because of the gigantic phone that doubles as a tablet market. Really though, tablets are not a standalone device. They're an accessory and a document viewer. They've found a niche in a lot of industries that have been clamoring for a basic digital reader. Airlines and medical have been dabbling in iPads, and shipping companies have been using such devices for a long time. I doubt tablets will ever take over computing, but I think they'll have a place for many years to come.
      • by Ravaldy (2621787)

        Tablets will take over eventually. Probably not exactly in the form factor we see today but it will for sure take over. Input methods, lack of processing power and limited network connection speeds are holding back it's ability to completely replace the PC. The future of having 1 device handle all your computing needs is not that far away. You'll be able to project the device image on monitors and televisions with wireless access... Anybody doubting this probably also thinks earth is flat.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Will it also be powered by magic?

        • Even if tablets do "take over" as a primary computing device, I very much doubt they will be much more than interfaces to some kind of cloud service at that point.
          • It’s not “Tablets” taking over, it is the Thin Client model that is taking over. High internet speeds make this possible but tablets make it portable.

          • Low-end tablets sold as client devices, sure.

            Productivity-oriented "Tablet PCs" on the other hand will likely continue carrying increasing processing power and other resources at least until they catch up with laptops. That's where things will start getting interesting.

        • People laughed at the Tablet PC concept ~10 years ago... I laughed at it too mainly due to the ~$3000 price tag back then.

          Things sure have come a long way from then and I would not be surprised if the Tablet PC concept came back with a vengeance over the next 2-3 years. Intel's intention to make most of Broadwell's lineup BGA-only next year sounds like they are going to be making a big push for embedded/all-in-one/NUC form factors in 2014-2015.

          • by sjbe (173966) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:13PM (#43754511)

            People laughed at the Tablet PC concept ~10 years ago... I laughed at it too mainly due to the ~$3000 price tag back then.

            They didn't laugh at the concept, they laughed at the (pathetic) implementation. Microsoft tried to overlay using a stylus on windows as a sort of keyboard/mouse hybrid which is NOT what a stylus is good for. A stylus is good for *drawing* and nothing else. We take notes with a pen and what we are doing is drawing. The fact that we can draw characters is just a bonus side effect. Microsoft fundamentally misunderstood how a pen/stylus works and what it is good for.

            I would actually love a tablet with a stylus option with the condition that the stylus be used for drawing ONLY. Not navigation (like a mouse) or as mass text input device (like a keyboard) but as a drawing tool in the same way we use it with a pen and notebook. That would be terrifically useful. But so far every developer gets all excited about character recognition or mistakes it for a mouse and screws up the interface in the process. The reason tablets are working well today is because they finally designed systems adjusted the operating system interface to be designed for finger input from the ground up.

            • by Raenex (947668)

              I would actually love a tablet with a stylus option with the condition that the stylus be used for drawing ONLY. Not navigation

              My exerience with a recent Nook made me wish I had a stylus for something as simple as closing tabs on a web browser. The amount of failure involved using my fingers on that device was just completely frustrating. I really don't understand why people hate the stylus so much. I really liked using the stylus on the Nintendo DS, for example.

              • by sjbe (173966)

                My exerience with a recent Nook made me wish I had a stylus for something as simple as closing tabs on a web browser. The amount of failure involved using my fingers on that device was just completely frustrating.

                That sounds like a design flaw with the interface rather than an indication of the need for a stylus to do basic navigation. Frankly if you need a stylus for navigation, something is broken in the design. I have an iPhone and I can reliably push very small buttons with my fingers with good accuracy. (Not recommending it just observing that it is possible to have precise finger input)

                I think the reason finger interfaces have worked well so far is that Apple and Google have made it intentionally difficult

                • by Raenex (947668)

                  That sounds like a design flaw with the interface rather than an indication of the need for a stylus to do basic navigation.

                  Could be, or maybe my fingers don't work as well for precision pointing than others. Whatever it is, I really like the stylus for precision.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Personal computers were the only device to handle all our computing needs. Tablets in a different form factor are no longer tablets, right? Either that or tablets are personal computers in a different form factor.
          Some people consider tablets the acme of personal computing because PCs are often associated with Windows, an overcomplicated OS which tries to be the jack of all trader, but in fact is master of none. Tablets on the contrary are associated with iOS or Android, and that is what needed to be done

      • by rasmusbr (2186518)

        Saying that tablets have found a niche is a bit like saying that hamburgers have found a niche. Tablets are cheap, or will be cheap once the surge in demand has been satisfied and the manufacturers have recouped their investments, and tablets can do 75% of what an average user does on a laptop, and more.

        If you look at it from a hardcore user on a budget angle it makes sense to spend a little less on your laptop or desktop and monitor and direct some money towards a tablet or two. More machines and more scre

        • I think perhaps you misunderstood my niche comment. I was referring to two industries where getting a "niche" is like guaranteeing yourself a future. Now that airlines are using a device in the cockpit, it will be there until Hell freezes over. And have you tried getting nurses to change anything in how they do things? Get 'em on a tablet and they'll fight any other change tooth-and-nail.
          • by rasmusbr (2186518)

            I got what you meant, but my point is that people in general will keep using tablets until someone comes up with an invention that defeats the benefit of owning multiple devices with multiple screens. If the tablet market dies it will be because we're all wearing contact lenses that paint images directly to our retinas.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        Really though, tablets are not a standalone device. They're an accessory and a document viewer. They've found a niche in a lot of industries that have been clamoring for a basic digital reader. Airlines and medical have been dabbling in iPads, and shipping companies have been using such devices for a long time. I doubt tablets will ever take over computing, but I think they'll have a place for many years to come.

        Tablets are here to stay. I've been saying this ever since I bought a tablet PC to play around

  • This is exactly the same as Good ( http://www1.good.com/applications/good-for-enterprise [good.com] ) and Samsung Knox is something similar.

    I wonder if they'll manage to carve out a place for themselves based on BES inertia. However, having administered BES, I sincerely hope they do the dodo.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      The only thing that kept a couple of users on Blackberry in my last job was the free international messaging on Blackberry's system. Doing business overseas, people found that to be the one perk that kept them from switching. Now, free messengers are becoming common enough that even those specific users no longer care. One switched to iPhone and I don't know what the other main Blackberry guy is running at this point, as we haven't kept in touch.
      • Yeah, I was always utterly confused as to why they stuck to Blackberry for this, rather than using Skype on iPhone/Android. I think that most people viewed Skype as "calling" application, even though the text chat was totally fine. It's already cross-platform and free. Must be the Microsoft curse at work.

        • I think to a certain extent some people know that the Internet in some countries is filtered, and that it could lead at any point to "social" products being blocked. Blackberry Messenger on the other hand would seem a less likely candidate.
        • Network effect. It your counter-parties use BBM and not Skype, you use BBM and not Skype. (Until there is a critical mass on Skype, and then the networking effect goes into reverse.)

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      This. BES is a total POS. I am not sure how something that simply connects email to phones can be so crappy, but it is.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm a current BES admin, and I have to say that they've improved the interface considerably. I'm also using Balance on my own Z10 and I have to admit, it's pretty slick. All we need now is an RSA client and we'll be set. Oh, wait a minute, I was able to sideload that.

      Where BB has a real leg up is that as of this week, an enterprise customer can take their existing "old school" BES, upgrade to the new BES10.1, and run their entire BB fleet. This is considerably less disruptive than migrating to an entire

  • Blackberry Enterprise is one of those products that I really just have to scratch my head at. It has always seemed to me that encouraging users to treat as secure something which is easily lost, stolen, or damaged is a fundamentally flawed concept for a business model. Sure, there are users out there who have a genuine need for such a concept, but the problem that really needs to be addressed is user understanding of data security practices, not giving them technology that encourages continuing bad practi
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by trybywrench (584843)
      Blackberry Enterprise is one of those products that I really just have to scratch my head at. It has always seemed to me that encouraging users to treat as secure something which is easily lost, stolen, or damaged is a fundamentally flawed concept for a business model. Sure, there are users out there who have a genuine need for such a concept, but the problem that really needs to be addressed is user understanding of data security practices, not giving them technology that encourages continuing bad practice
      • I see what you're trying to say with the bold text, but the issue isn't that there is a need in some select cases.

        Until such a day as RIM brings something that makes them more exciting than a trip to the dentist, they'll continue to lose anyone who doesn't absolutely have to have their specific features. That's no way to stay afloat in the mobile device market today, and their users will be essentially abandoned by the market.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          but isn't the point this indicates is that RIM know they're not going to stay afloat in the mobile device market... hence moving to providing services for the OS's that will stay afloat in the mobile device market.

          That's my take at least.

          • One might think so initially. But they're naive if they think they will be able to compete with existing and future products that offer the same services either as a package or a la carte and do it either cheaper or for free (and probably even better).
      • by asliarun (636603)

        Blackberry Enterprise is one of those products that I really just have to scratch my head at. It has always seemed to me that encouraging users to treat as secure something which is easily lost, stolen, or damaged is a fundamentally flawed concept for a business model. Sure, there are users out there who have a genuine need for such a concept, but the problem that really needs to be addressed is user understanding of data security practices, not giving them technology that encourages continuing bad practices in ignorance.

        Honestly, I've felt for a long time that Blackberry should have done a better job with their enterprise dominance - instead of doing this half assed job of trying to appeal to every market segment. A few years ago, almost all company issued phones were blackberries. Imagine if blackberry had focused on letting you do more with your blackberry - like teleconferencing, video conferencing, virtual workspaces, screensharing, collaboration etc. They had the software, the network, the hardware presence. Their com

        • Interesting timing, mentioning Gtalk right as the product was merged with Hangouts. I am still wondering why they didn't merge Wave into Talk, and when they will roll Voice into the new Hangouts now that they're promising SMS messaging as an upcoming feature.
        • by hjf (703092)

          Well, since the iphone came out, the BYOD movement got interesting. In all these years, I suppose, RIM saw that people wanted to carry only 1 phone, and, as it was, it wasn't going to be a BB.

          They failed at delivering a decent, modernized UI that didn't depend on the touchpad/joystick thing. People wanted BIG SCREENS and TOUCH. I haven't seen the Z10 but i suppose that was going to be THE ipod/android competitor. But it was too late to the game. About 3 years too late.

          I guess BB is transitioning into a soft

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What are you even saying? The business model isn't to give them some false sense of security with an easily lost phone. It's to allow them to securely access email/corp communications while mobile. Is your idea of an efficient workforce to only allow email access from a locked down desktop behind secured steel and concrete blast doors only opened by a DNA test? You must be one of those "security gurus" who thinks the only acceptable way to use a computer is to disconnect it from the network and make s

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:25AM (#43753793)

      Blackberry Enterprise is one of those products that I really just have to scratch my head at. It has always seemed to me that encouraging users to treat as secure something which is easily lost, stolen, or damaged is a fundamentally flawed concept for a business model.

      Are you insane? Or you just have no idea what a blackberry enterprise server (BES) does?

      The BES manages strong encryption (AES by default) on the devices. The encryption keys are found only in two places: one the BES, and on the blackberry itself.

      The mobile carrier doesn't have the keys, and RIM doesn't have the keys. So if a government comes calling with a warrant, RIM doesn't have anything to give them. It's a very elegant design.

      The BES can force mandatory policies onto the blackberries, such as strong full-disk encryption, strong passwords, remote tracking, remote wiping, remote locking, wiping if the phone doesn't check in regularly, restricting what apps can access, and many, many other things.

      There are a number of very smart & paranoid people at RIM who have thought long and hard about different attack scenarios and how to prevent them. That's why blackberry has been certified by many governments, NATO, and others: http://us.blackberry.com/business/topics/security/certifications.html

      Unfortunately, the market doesn't seem to be interested in strong security and is far more interested in giving up all their personal/company information in return for the latest shiny device. Sad.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Are you insane? Or you just have no idea what a blackberry enterprise server (BES) does?

        Provides governments with backdoor access to your supposedly encrypted data? Check.

      • You're confusing a concept and a business model. It's a good concept and a bad business model. Create industry standards for strong security and it simply becomes part of the next generation of "shiny devices" instead of a niche.
      • The best smartphone OS for the enterprise is still the BB by FAR. I'd list iOS as #2 because of their limited hardware selection and OS updates. I'm not sure if Windows or Android would be next, but I'm guessing it would probably be Windows phone. This is not to say that your users will want to use the phone you give them, but from an administrative perspective, BB is leaps and bounds above everything else. My favorite setting on the BES server was that you can wipe the BB when the battery gets below a
        • by geoskd (321194)

          The best smartphone OS for the enterprise is still the BB by FAR. I'd list iOS as #2 because of their limited hardware selection and OS updates.

          Bzzzt, wrong.

          The best smartphone OS for the enterprise is whatever the user shows up with because the corporation doesn't have to shell out several hundreds of dollars, and in most cases, $50+ per month for every user. If your company has 300k employees, phone plans alone will run you $180M / year. Off loading that expense to your employees is not trivial. Now add the cost of a new BB for each one of them every two years (or however long they last on average), and you're looking at another $100M a year. Th

      • by atamido (1020905)

        Blackberry Enterprise is one of those products that I really just have to scratch my head at. It has always seemed to me that encouraging users to treat as secure something which is easily lost, stolen, or damaged is a fundamentally flawed concept for a business model.

        Are you insane? Or you just have no idea what a blackberry enterprise server (BES) does?

        The BES manages strong encryption (AES by default) on the devices. The encryption keys are found only in two places: one the BES, and on the blackberry itself.

        The mobile carrier doesn't have the keys, and RIM doesn't have the keys. So if a government comes calling with a warrant, RIM doesn't have anything to give them. It's a very elegant design.

        The BES can force mandatory policies onto the blackberries, such as strong full-disk encryption, strong passwords, remote tracking, remote wiping, remote locking, wiping if the phone doesn't check in regularly, restricting what apps can access, and many, many other things.

        All of the encryption stuff is exactly like ActiveSync, which comes on every device worth it's salt, and every organization that has Exchange (is there an enterprise that doesn't?). All of the policies are included in ActiveSync, except for "remote tracking, remote locking, wiping if the phone doesn't check in regularly, restricting what apps can access", and most of those are easily implemented with a mobile management program. That said, most enterprises I've seen really only care about the features Act

  • Remotely wipe a device of its data? Wow, Apple should have thought of that.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://support.apple.com/kb/PH2701?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

      Not hard.

      Quite easy, in fact.

      From Apple.

      Just sayin'.

    • Re:I want one (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ultracompetent (2852717) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:04AM (#43753491) Homepage
      Actually the key here is that you can remote wipe only the corporate data. Some people are not keen in connecting a BYOD to a corporate email service if that service gets snoop, wipe, and enforces security policies over your whole device, (including personal email, apps, etc.) This sounds like a reasonable tradeoff .. give the corporation a walled off area of your phone that they can enforce policy over and allow you to still own the device and services you pay for out of your own pocket.
      • Indeed, I've always thought that agreeing to allow the Activesync portion of the Android exchange client to remotely wipe all my data was a bit harsh. That said, I'm in charge of the Exchange server so there ain't gonna be any wiping of my phone. Obviously the boss has to stay nice though.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          There are roms that will fix that problem. They will just say "yup I wiped!" while not doing a damn thing.

    • Remotely wipe a device of its data? Wow, Apple should have thought of that.

      Posting under the assumption that the above comment was laced with sarcasm... Blackberry had remote wipe capabilities via BES long before the iPhone was even released.

    • Re:I want one (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:18AM (#43753677)

      can apple wipe just the 'work' portion and leave the personal (my email, etc) alone?

      no?

      then shut the hell up, then.

      I was asked by the folks at my work to install exchange stuff so I can run outlook (sigh). I started the install when a dialog came up asking if I will grant 'whole device wipe' privs to the IT guys. fuck no! its MY device! whole system wipe? really? JUST because I want to install calendering from exchange on my phone?

      I canceled and so far, my home phone has no work stuff on it.

      it would be really nice to be able to keep them separate and risk-free.

      apple has nothing like this, do they? normally, its an all or nothing wipe, just like outlook 'wants'.

      • Of course it's funny that the one device that DOES have this ability is the one device no one wants as their personal phone anymore.

      • by hjf (703092)

        Same in android. Permissions aren't granular enough. For example, when an app request "sd card access", android gives it FULL access. Not a sandbox to the app's directory or something. Very silly.

      • by bhlowe (1803290)
        Big deal. Someone steals my iPhone, I can wipe it. Yes, would be nice to leave an app or two that would help me capture the thief... But the bottom line is Blackberry is doomed and all the stories and hoping isn't going to change that.
        • by dysonlu (907935)
          You misplaced your phone. It must be wiped ASAP per corporate policy . Two days later, you found your phone.

          Thank you, come again.
          • by bhlowe (1803290)
            I often misplace my iPhone, and when I do, I use "Find my Phone" to locate it and I can see it's exact location on a map, and I can have it play a sound to help me locate it. I've never been without my phone for more than a few hours, let alone days. Even if I wipe my whole phone, it can be fully restored over the cloud. BlackBerry can't make a comeback without apps. Apple is loving all of the corporate, security conscious clients that are now satisfied with Apple's devices, and Apple will keep making inroa
      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        apple has nothing like this, do they? normally, its an all or nothing wipe, just like outlook 'wants'.

        Not Apple per se, but check out air-watch [air-watch.com]. We use it at work to put a wall around corporate data on our user's personal iOS devices.

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          air-watch is just a system to create provisioning profiles with a nice UI rather than doing it by hand.

          It depends entirely on features that are already in the phone and can be used by anyone capable of following documentation and creating an XML file.

          air-watch just makes it easy to do it on a large scale, it doesn't actually add new security related features.

      • by mbourgon (186257)

        I've been using an app lately called DIVIDE which allows this. You don't lock your phone, & it only wipes the data within the App. Meeting notifications pop up. Free, too, somehow.

        Now if they could add some blackberry-style filters (where the email doesn't go to the device, but stays in my Inbox), I'd be ecstatic.

      • by PNutts (199112)

        apple has nothing like this, do they? normally, its an all or nothing wipe, just like outlook 'wants'.

        Moxier, a 3rd party iOS app.

      • by gordo3000 (785698)

        the good app has this feature. And it even allows web browsing the corporate network (which is walled off) through the app on my iphone while my bb can only follow corp policy, including no photo taking, no voice recording, no blog visiting, no "questionable sites" visited. the Good app (iPhone or Android I believe, though I only use it on iOS right now) dominates the bb, and gives me a reliable device, not some overpriced bb POS.

        bb is a terrible device. there is no middle ground. it exists because old

    • by Vrtigo1 (1303147)
      Yeah, Apple should have thought of putting remote wipe functionality in the hands of an admin who doesn't have the end user's Apple ID credentials, and enabled them to do it in a way that leaves the user's personal data intact and only wipes corporate data. If they had, 90% of the folks using 3rd party MDM software probably wouldn't be.
      • by PNutts (199112)

        I don't disagree, but to be fair you can turn on iCloud backups and simply restore it all back.

        • by Vrtigo1 (1303147)
          Potentially, depending on how the MDM software handles these things.

          Good MDM software will containerize corporate data and put it in a 3rd party mail app which won't be backed up by iCloud.
  • I hope it makes Android and iOS fully dependent on a desktop (windows only) computer and heavy weight BES server (windows only). I sure hope it changes the software so to do anything on the phone itself I have to memorize commands that aren't in any menu option.

    I can't wait to have BBM. That will teach those bad employees who think they can choose their own xmpp client with Google Chat.

    Sorry, disgruntled BES admin rant. Just shut it down a few months ago! Life is great!

  • So no copy paste, but screen shot is fine.

    Also good luck dealing with rooted or jailbroken devices. Sure you can try to test for that, but since others have already tried there are now toolkits to break such testing.

  • by Dr.Zong (584494) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:23AM (#43753767) Journal
    We're using this. BES5 server for the old devices. BES10 BDS (BlackBerry Device Server) for a couple Q10s and a couple Playbooks, then UDS (Universal Device Server) for a bunch of ipads. All three servers are managed by one interface, Mobile Fusion. For us, it's not about "hey, apple has this" or "hey android already has this" it's about "hey, I can manage these all from one console". Saves a tonne of time, and a tonne of hassle. I am not super happy that with BDS/UDS they moved to Active Sync, but our AS Server is behind a firewall and we have the UDS devices set to VPN in automatically to get to it. The BDS devices are "in the network" like the old BES stuff and don't need a VPN. Hell, I had a case open with BlackBerry as I needed RRAS and the UDS/BDS working on one server, long story short, it looks like a KB article will be made based on that support case.
  • I read that as "How Blackberry is struggling to stay relevant after people stopped using the devices on which their services are used".

    I do think it's better for everyone when there are more viable choices and more competition in the market, but let's not kid ourselves that Blackberry putting an app on another platform or two is them riding those platforms in order to "power their comeback". At best, it's analogous to what Sega did during/after the Dreamcast, and while we might be able to say that Sega is a

    • I read that as "How Blackberry is struggling to stay relevant after people stopped using the devices on which their services are used"

      I agree with you here - they are trying to remain relevant by become an ecosystem, not a device vendor. If they can build a strong enough enterprise solution that runs on a number of devices, besides their own, they can offer companies a total solution w/o locking them in to a specific brand of hardware; and offer a total package for companies that want one standard device. I doubt they can stay viable as a hardware unique solution simply because that mens tehy must innovate in hardware as well as software,

  • iPhone/Android/Blackberry either commoditizes BES or leverage into a global backbone infrastructure for corporate types needing more than TELCO signal.

  • when did rm -fr /path/to/corporate_data become so innovative ?

  • ... so little attention paid to facts.

    If you're making uninformed decisions at work like you make uninformed comments on slashdot, ya better be ready for the unemployment line.
    • by Xest (935314)

      It's because you have two types of people on Slashdot.

      Those with actual experience in the real world who have encountered things like BES and seen first hand why there are still even with it's decreased marketshare, millions of people using Blackberries.

      Then on the other hand, you have the students, the people who never really went anywhere in life, and the unemployed due to incompetence.

      Guess which person makes which type of comment?

      The problem is that over the years the number of students et. al. who thin

  • In my experience, companies that do not have very good products spend an awful lot of time trying to sell "solutions". Looks a lot like whats happening here.

  • Why the hell didn't RIM work on this shit 5 years ago when they started to see their sales plummel more and more with every quarter?

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