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BlackBerry To Allow Rivals To Manage Its Smartphones

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the source-code-and-we'll-talk dept.

Blackberry 43

jfruh (300774) writes "BlackBerry broke its longstanding business model recently by announcing that its BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 management platform would be able to manage not just BlackBerry devices, but Android and iOS gadgets as well. Now, in a new announcement, the company is also exploring the flipside of that coin, allowing software from other companies to manage BlackBerry phones. The moves acknowledge a world in which fewer and fewer people are interested in a vertical BlackBerry solution — but also seem to kill the last things that make BlackBerry special."

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Just Sayin' (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46998913)

A few are beautiful yes. But most black females I have ever seen look like some horrific genetic experiment involving whales, porcupines and gorillas. Its not surprising black men like to say "where da white women at?!" with their typical grammatical mastery of the only language they can speak. Well .. when they're not too busy being 7% of the population but accounting for 55% of all the murders in the nation. But don't worry, some white liberal will make excuses for them. Because that's what always changes things, a steady supply of firmly insisted excuses.

Thank God for the sickle cell.

Re:Just Sayin' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999001)

what is it with black people and the bus stop? anytime you see a bus stop, there is always a black person there.

i would bet money that if you put a bus stop in the middle of sibera, hundreds of miles from anyone and left it for a few hours, when you return there would be black people in it. stereotypical black people too. there will be an old man holding a bicycle tire on the rim, muttering to himself. there will be a fat black girl on her cellphone talking too loud and shaking her finger while doing the "mmmhmm" thing. lastly there will be a 20-something thug-life wanna-be with bloodshot eyes.

black people and the bus stop, it's a mystery.

Re:Just Sayin' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999085)

it's like there is some kind of socially patterned software program all the stereotypical black people are running.

they try so very hard to be different, look different, act different and make damn sure you know they are different. but if you think of them as different you're a racist asshole and a terrible human being.

by the way here's a thought. if you look like a thug, walk like a thug, dress like a thug, talk like a thug, and act like a thug. guess what? the cops are going to treat you like a thug! how hard can that be to understand?

Re:Just Sayin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47000775)

i dont care what anyone says, that one was just funny

Re:Just Sayin' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999033)

wow, an AC first post I finally agree with instead of hosts file crap.

Re:Just Sayin' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999145)

While you are busy thanking God for 'the' sickle cell, please also take time to mull on these words of wisdom from the good book.

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Proverbs 17:28

A more modern version:
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

Just Sayin'

Re:Just Sayin' (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999345)

Welcome to Niggerbuntu

Niggerbuntu is a Linux-based operating system consisting of Free and Open Source software for laptops, desktops, and servers. Niggerbuntu has a clear focus on the user and usability - it should Just Work, even if the user has only the thinking capacities of a sponge. the OS ships with the latest Gnomrilla release as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off of a single installation CD.

It also features the packaging manager ape-ghetto, and the challenging Linux manual pages have been reformatted into the new 'monkey' format, so for example the manual for the shutdown command can be accessed just by typing: 'monkey shut-up -h now mothafukka' instead of 'man shutdown'.

Absolutely Free of Charge

Niggerbuntu is free software, and available to you free of charge, as in free beer or free stuffs you can get from looting. It's also Free in the sense of giving you rights of Software Freedom. The freedom, to run, copy, steal, distribute, study, share, change and improve the software for any purpose, without paying licensing fees.

Free software as in free beer !

Niggerbuntu is an ancient Nigger word, meaning "humanity to monkeys". Niggerbuntu also means "I am what I am because of how apes behave". The Niggerbuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Niggerbuntu to the software world.

The dictator Bokassa described Niggerbuntu in the following way:

        "A subhuman with Niggerbuntu is open and available to others (like a white bitch you're ready to fsck), affirming of others, does not feel threatened by the fact that other species are more intelligent than we are, for it has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that it belongs to the great monkey specie."

We chose the name Niggerbuntu for this distribution because we think it captures perfectly the spirit of sharing and looting that is at the heart of the open source movement.

Niggerbuntu - Linux for Subhuman Beings.

its actually pretty great news. (0)

nimbius (983462) | about 8 months ago | (#46998953)

the BES or Blackberry Enterprise Server has been a piece of shit for as long as I can remember. I still have battle scars from managing it as it mangled inboxes and refused to connect to basics like exchange. They changed cryptography keys on it without notifying anyone and sometimes stopped supporting a legacy device entirely without any advanced notice. Third party companies that write their own management system might gain some traction for corporate offices that are sick to death of having to put up with blackberries 'fuck off and die' support. and hey, if your office is big enough, maybe blackberry will fork over some source and let your devops team write something that doesnt faceplant on the daily.

Re:its actually pretty great news. (3, Interesting)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 8 months ago | (#46999207)

BES was always finicky, but generally issues I recall seeing tended to be self inflicted. Im not sure what you mean by "they changed cryptography keys"-- the entire point of the BES is that the company alone holds the per-device keys, and if they change its because someone did something with their profile.

Calling BES awful when there basically werent any viable competitors for ~10 years is a bit ridiculous. Sure there was activesync, but that was even more finicky and screwed up, and until recently (last ~5 years) anything else was just a nightmare to manage. Anyone ever have the joy of trying to get an iPhone 3 hooked up to a server with a self-signed cert?

Re:its actually pretty great news. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 8 months ago | (#47000655)

Comparing BES to ActiveSync (EAS) [wikipedia.org] is like comparing Exchange to IIS. While BlackBerry's bread and butter was its push email functionality the things you could do with a BlackBerry connected to a BES were impressive even by today's standards. Because of BlackBerry's end to end encryption a BB phone connected to a BES is always connected to the corporate network just like any PC sitting in your office. Meaning if I left an important file on the computer at the office I could connect to it from my phone and open/save it. Applications which need to fetch data from the corporate DB can be installed to the phone and work without the need to constantly log in. Even today with every MDM I have worked with I still have to manually connect over VPN when I want to do anything on the company network with an Android or iOS device. And if the screen times out it disconnects the VPN connection forcing me to start over. Good, Mobile Iron, Knox, et al are still some distance from providing such a robust feature set.

This is a good move for BlackBerry but if a company truly wants a secure and robust solution they should still choose BES IMHO.

Death throes .. (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#46998961)

RIM/BlackBerry has been in decline for years.

The stuff they played a role in pioneering are now pretty much commodities. They rested on their laurels for way too long, and eventually got lapped by the rest of the market. Apple and Android have huge market shares compared to what BlackBerry still has.

They've been laying off people, closing buildings, and putting out products hardly anybody buys, and they've been saddled with ineffective management for years.

They're well on their way to becoming a footnote. Their founders all got rich and moved on.

What we're watching is the dying days of a once cool company.

Sad to see them go, but this is largely a mess of their own creation, even if they don't realize it.

I know people who owned their PlayBook tablet -- and, quite frankly, they were crap. There was nothing in the store, their Android support was a joke, and then they stopped giving updates for it. I'm betting most of the people who ever owned that tablet wouldn't ever own another product from them.

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999199)

As with far too many, you only seem to know of blackberry products that are 3 or 4 years old.

Current blackberry products would surprise you. Android support is basically 100%, minus anything proprietary from google. The features offered on them are similar to what you'd expect from a decent smartphone.

Of course, BlackBerry has an uphill battle. The argument you're presenting was on here circa 2001. s/blackberry/apple/

Re:Death throes .. (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about 8 months ago | (#46999597)

Current blackberry products would surprise you. Android support is basically 100%, minus anything proprietary from google. The features offered on them are similar to what you'd expect from a decent smartphone.

I use current BB products, issued by my company. And they do surprise me. As in "why the hell is my company spending good money on junk like this?!?" Similar to a decent smartphone? Hardly. The ones with real keyboards are glorified feature phones. And those of use that want a decent smartphone will buy one from a decent smartphone vendor.

Re:Death throes .. (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 8 months ago | (#47001137)

I use current BB products, issued by my company. And they do surprise me. As in "why the hell is my company spending good money on junk like this?!?" Similar to a decent smartphone? Hardly. The ones with real keyboards are glorified feature phones. And those of use that want a decent smartphone will buy one from a decent smartphone vendor.

Since you didn't specify what device you are using I will assume from your comment you are using a BB OS 7 device which the OP indicated was a several years old device. I highly doubt you are are using a BB OS 10 device since current gen BB OS 10 phones (even the Z10 is over a year old.) can run the bulk of Android apps while maintaining the devices security. The Z30 uses the same Snapdragon S4 Pro chip as the Moto X and a host of other devices meaning it can hang with the big dogs just fine. BlackBerry has done a commendable job re-engineering the ideas from the original BB OS into a next generation OS ready to compete with the modern mobile world.

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47002041)

imo it has the best UI for managing running apps. I just switched from android phones to the new q10 and i cant see myself going back

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47002981)

You said "ones" with keyboards, as if there's many. BB only has two current phones with keyboards, and other than one being a budget phone, they're almost identical. You are using a Q5, I will assume, but you could be using a Q10. Could you explain what you don't like?

Re:Death throes .. (2)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about 8 months ago | (#46999213)

Thanks for regurgitating everything that has gone wrong. It's easy and popular these days to prognosticate that BlackBerry is doomed because stock price, market share, bad press, blah blah. Unfortunately for your ilk BlackBerry is under new management and is executing a number of moves that are different from anything in the past.

Partnering with Foxconn, introducing the Z3, the device management moves described here, BBM on all platforms, etc, are just a few.

BlackBerry remains unrivalled in device security (for sure the facebook crowd won't care), has awesome battery life, and has the smoothest mobile operating system I've ever used. Yes, full disclosure, I own a Z10. Literally the only drawback is that it doesn't have a few apps that might be handy (my banking app most notably). That written the support for Android apps grows and you can now install 'droid apps right out of the play store.

Certainly it's true that BB could still be doomed but commentary like yours is essentially the chatter of the Monday morning quarterback.

Re:Death throes .. (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 8 months ago | (#46999417)

Blackberries excel in the security arena. While someone puts an iPhone on airplane mode and runs off with it, a Blackberry can be set to erase itself if it doesn't get a network connection in a certain time interval. No other platform offers this assurance.

Blackberries also used their own servers. Servers secure enough that countries demanded RIM give them access or else kick them out of the country. No wayward CAs, no bogus certs... it may not be perfect, but BIS is/was a secure way of doing mail.

BES, OTOH, I'm neutral about. It is nice having an authentication mechanism separate from SSL/TLS, but historically, BES was fiddly. It is likely rock solid now, but it got a bad reputation.

I don't think RIM is doomed. Should people/companies actually value security, they are the only game in town for serious security on a device level.

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47001557)

Blackberries excel in the security arena. While someone puts an iPhone on airplane mode and runs off with it, a Blackberry can be set to erase itself if it doesn't get a network connection in a certain time interval. No other platform offers this assurance.

iPhones will definitely do this. And if it is reported as stolen, it can't even be reactivated with wipe and a new SIM.

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47002029)

If an iPhone is locked and the SIM card is ejected, it won't erase itself unless it has access to an open Wi-fi network.

If an iPhone is reported as stolen, it won't know about it until it gets a connection.

You are right that iPhones do need activation, so it couldn't be just DFU restored and used by a thief, but there is assurance that having the device zap itself if it can't phone home is a big one.

Re:Death throes .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999495)

The thing is, the smartphone market is now mature. Blackberry are small fish in a big pond.

I worked in an establishment where all the senior managers had Blackberries. They couldn't connect them to Exchange email accounts, so when the time came, all the senior managers switched to iPhones which worked out of the box. Over time, they got used to and started to like the whole Android and iOS ecosystem. I know man other organizations went through the same process (perhaps switching to Android instead, or Windows Phone).

Now that these people have left Blackberry behind, why would they want to give up their investment in a system that they like and that works for them to go back to a company that A) was a complete pain to work with, and B) is now an also-ran with no clear plan to turn themselves around? They can create great new devices all they want, but why would I (or my bosses) want to drop our existing iPhones and Android handsets and introduce device management for yet another type of handset from a company that has been more or less irrelevant for the past few years?

Re:Death throes .. (1)

Unknown1337 (2697703) | about 8 months ago | (#46999925)

My Blackberry has been connected to exchange for a few years and there have been zero issues with it since OS 10. Calendars, e-mail, etc. all sync perfectly. As for being irrelevant... even you who think so are still talking about them. They are not the biggest players in the game any more it's true, but all major companies go through ups and downs. Some users abandon them in an instant and others give them the slack they need to deliver good products again. (Apple is not exempt from this path either.) Simply the fact that people feel the need to constantly dog BlackBerry and 'remind' us that they were basically in the toilet not too long ago is a sign that they are still seen as a threat. If they held no expectation of competition they would not regularly be measured against the other major players.

Re:Death throes .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47000731)

Pretty much. wife's iphone has issues with email sync, my andriod has issues with gmail spying. The work BB? It just works. It does only what it's supposed to do; encrypted email, BBM and reading word/ppt/pdf documents. I agree, it's shit for anything else, but I'm not doing anything else on the work phone. It's good for security, and that's why I got stuck with it? Would I use one for my personal phone? Hell no. However, that's not the market or the point of it. We had one get stolen in china last month, most likely by our "partner". Fucks given? Zero. Sensitive work email on it? Very secure.

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999963)

If your IT team could not connect the company Blackberries to the company Exchange accounts, the entire department should have been fired.

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47006965)

That was before my time, but try working in an academic institution with over 2000 users, over 1000 PCs, over 100 Macs (with no management infrastucture on the Mac side), all supported by (at the time)... TWO people. I later joined as a third member of the team (by which point, the company Blackberries were long gone), and now that I've left and gone elsewhere, they're back down to two again. Oh, and there was no BES server.

Yes it was a resourcing issue. My point is that iOS and Android devices worked out of the box in the environment, Blackberry did not and were dropped. Yes, modern Blackberries can now work out of the box too, but the devices at the time. That's what killed Blackberry in many smaller environments, and I don't see any reason for those environments to want to go back to a "me too" device when the alternatives they've adopted are serving everyone well enough.

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999603)

Don't forget HealthNet.

If people see that and don't realize where BBRY is heading, I feel sorry for them. Consumers are not a target audience so griping about the "store" not having games is not a relevant statement.

Re:Death throes .. (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#46999691)

Certainly it's true that BB could still be doomed but commentary like yours is essentially the chatter of the Monday morning quarterback.

I remember when RIM was a smallish company operating mostly out of one office. I remember watching RIM soar and become huge. And I've spent several years watching them decline, the founders leave, and management floundering. I've known several people who worked there over the years.

Do I claim to be Warren Buffet and know exactly what will happen to them? Of course not.

Is it my opinion that they may never be able to pull themselves out of this slide? Yup, this is a similar pattern to when Nortel keeled over. Going from high flying, high priced and infallible, to tanking, shedding customers, assets and income is what I'm seeing.

In the words of Principal Skinner ... "Prove me wrong children. Prove me wrong."

You believe RIM/BB will recover. That's OK. The executives do as well.

I don't have any financial interest in RIM/BB, you may or may not. In a few years, one of us will be right, and one of us will be wrong.

But my belief is that they're running out of the things which differentiated them, playing catch up to a market they helped create, and have been bleeding market share and revenues.

So, if I was laying money on the line in this, I'd not be betting on them to succeed.

And, at the end of the day, my "Monday morning quarterbacking" carries about as much meaning as your "Wednesday morning cheer leading". Two random, insignificant opinions.

Re:Death throes .. (1)

tapi0 (2805569) | about 8 months ago | (#46999275)

Plenty in the store, obviously since the decline there's little of the newer bigger apps like Netflix etc. but I'm one who owns a couple along with family and friends who are more than happy. Build quality, screen, audio and OS features were way ahead many of the contemporary tablets and mine's still going strong. There were a few of us waiting for the BB10 phones and it was those that turned us away from BB, not the playbook. If there were an updated 10" playbook released today I'd definitely consider it, though it would be a stretch.
And "android support a joke"? It actually was able to run some apps from a completely different OS, and that was a joke? IOS and Android and Windows RT support for apps from other platforms is non-existent, but BB made an attempt at cross platform compatibility and you slate the effort!?

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999383)

Netflix isn't in the BB AppStore, however, if you download the Amazon store or any of the others that don't require GooglePlay, the Android version runs perfectly (flawlessly in my experience). You'll need a 10.2.0 or later BB10 os build, but all carriers worth having a phone with deployed that months ago.

Re:Death throes .. (1)

johneee (626549) | about 8 months ago | (#46999939)

The PlayBook fiasco made me sad because it was so good. OS is way better even now than Android on the same size hardware, and the PB hardware was great, if a little unexciting.

Everything you say about the store and Android and support is correct. Which meant that the platform as a whole is useless except for limited situations (we still use ours for reading ebooks and browsing, but that's about it) but the gizmo itself was anything but crap.

Re:Death throes .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47004347)

I don't disagree, but will note that I have both a PlayBook and an iPad Air. The only thing I use the Air for is the F1 app. Everything else I use my PlayBook for. Stocks, web, Flash videos, HTML5, secure email, etc. All PlayBook, all the time. I use it every day, since it shipped. I know I am not the normal user. I bought an iPad for the wife. She likes to play games with graphics like my old C64 and Amiga that I don't have much interest in anymore. The PlayBook is a wonderful device, but it's not a gaming toy like the iPadPod stuff is.

Re:Death throes .. (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | about 8 months ago | (#47018925)

I agree they may be loosing the one thing that made them special but again did it make them special or just put them further behind. They are one of the worse run companies in tech today. Technology just passed them by the lack of app support really hurt them more then anything.

Kill it? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46998973)

Why would allowing others to use the APIs, rather than keeping them super-secret as a rent extraction strategy, 'kill' their specialness?

Presumably the same management options as before will still exist, you'll just be able to use other software to actually set those options, should it please you. If the actual security of the management process depended on the APIs being secret than it was horribly broken long ago (reverse-engineering a proprietary system well enough to build a competing application is either superior or you can profitably sell for less is hard, especially if the vendor is willing to mess with you; reverse engineering just enough of it that basing its security on the assumption of its secrecy is substantially easier). If BES remains superior, you can still use it. If you don't elect to, your blackberries are now not nearly unmanageable bricks(and, hopefully, won't suffer the shit that is BIS...)

They're almost dead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46998977)

Blackberry has only 3% market share as of Jan 2014. If you use a company like Citrix, Airwatch, Mobile Iron, Good Tech then you'll notice that the APIs are there for Apple and Android. Not so much for other vendors. It's almost like they completely missed the boat.

Re:They're almost dead (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#47000325)

This is the real issue.

If you're not already an all BlackBerry shop, or you're not big enough that you can dedicate resources to running BES in addition to your other solution, you need a different solution to manage your mobile devices before someone loses a phone on a plane and you're writing HIPAA checks.

None of the good multi-platform enterprise class solutions support BlackBerry

So you implement Mobile Iron as your one mobile management solution, and tell people they can't have a BlackBerry if they want enterprise mail, and the 3% of your people with BB's becomes 0% as you issue them Androids and iPhones. [Because giving everyone who actually has a personal BlackBerry a new Galaxy costs less than the server for BES.] And like that, BlackBerry's market share goes from 3% to 2.99%.

License the keyboard (5, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 8 months ago | (#46999017)

That might produce some additional revenue. They're suing the makers of a look a like solution for the iphone. Why not just take a cut of everyone that wants to do it, and help them do it as well? It might revitalize physical keyboard handsets.

They're still special (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about 8 months ago | (#46999023)

but also seem to kill the last things that make BlackBerry special.

You think the competing management platforms driven to be as generic as possible and manage multiple vendors' phones will be "better" at managing BB devices, than their own product?

I see a few ways this may not hurt BB... (1) It makes their smartphones more attractive, if they will be compatible with customers' existing management solution.

(2) Potential licensing fees from developers of management software for access to SDKs and advanced APIs.

and (3) They may still provide superior manageability/functionality for their own management platform, by using undocumented APIs, or by introducing new APIs to their devices and management platform simultaneously --- so they always leverage new management and security features first..

IT expo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999177)

Was at a large IT expo last week, and BlackBerry had a huge presence in the centre stage, impressive stand. Nobody was even interested in their products, the company is smelling like death at every turn.

Rivals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46999643)

Rivals to Blackberry?

Enron? RCA? Pets.com?

They still have real keyboards! (0)

pigiron (104729) | about 8 months ago | (#46999763)


Put a fork in it.... (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 8 months ago | (#46999821)

BB is done. Some of their new products are interesting but BB has been irrelevant for too long. At one time they made the best smartphone on the market, certainly the most secure. Then they got fat and lazy and Apple and Android sped past them.

I had one of the older BB phones with the small screen and physical keyboard. Loved it. Great battery life, good call quality, secure. But no apps to speak of. Poor quality handsets (I know a lot of people that had to return them due to hardware failures). Then I got an iPhone and never looked back. Well, never looked back at BB. I did look at (and own) Android phones.

Now it's a two horse race. To me, BB is kind of like Windows phones. Yeah, some nice features but I'm not about to buy one. So long BB...we hardly knew ya.

Brand evaporation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47000211)

Someone please put Blackberry out of its misery. Its reputation is a joke and excuse both before it ultimately dissolves away.

*made* Blackberry special (1)

zarmanto (884704) | about 8 months ago | (#47000947)

"...but also seem to kill the last things that make BlackBerry special."

Shouldn't that be made Blackberry special? I mean, I loved my old crackberry as much as the next geek back-in-the-day... but pretty nearly everyone has moved on, at this point.

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