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The Blackberry Vacuum

November 7, 2013 Walt Paley

BlackberryLogoBlackberry is back!  …In the news, that is.  This week brought new twists to the saga of Waterloo, including the collapse of the Fairfax buyout bid, the unceremonious exit of CEO Thorsten Heins, and the sudden announcement of a $1 billion cash infusion from Fairfax instead.

As Sara Angeles wrote in BusinessNewsDaily on Monday, “BlackBerry business users may as well be left in limbo.”  That’s a pretty polite way to say that things look ugly.  Those business users are just the tip of the iceberg as well – don’t forget that Blackberry has a significant market share in the US federal government that will be up for grabs.

Back in February, Gartner analysts reported significant client inquiries surrounding concerns about Blackberry’s long term viability.  As a result, the research giant published a migration guide for enterprises that were reliant on the former RIM, detailing steps towards a multi-OS mobility strategy.  Again, this was a polite way to recommend hedging.  I can’t imagine that Gartner (or any other analyst) was actively suggesting that iOS-only shops should add Blackberry to the mix.  This was an exodus, plain and simple, no matter how diplomatically stated.

As I related to Angeles in the BusinessNewsDaily, there are Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions available that are viable alternatives to Blackberry, satisfying even the most security-conscious enterprises.  When that competitive edge evaporated, it was just a matter of time until Android and iOS encroached on Blackberry’s market share, powered by these solutions.

So what is the take away here?

There is no upside to stick around for the bitter end, so many remaining Blackberry shops are planning their transition.  Since these stalwarts include some major deployments in the federal government, you can imagine the upside for the EMM providers who are positioned to compete for that market share.

The vacuum created by Blackberry’s displacement will generate significant business – enough to separate the leaders from the pack.  For the EMM solutions not yet validated for FIPS 140-2, the pressure is on to make a judgment call.  There is no better time to make the leap into the fray and begin bidding for government contracts.

Further, the solutions that dominate in government will have the edge in the private sector as well.  The obvious play is to parlay the credibility earned in federal RFPs into more business.  That FIPS validation will certainly be a differentiating factor.

So the question is: Will you be grabbing big handfuls of Blackberry’s market share?  Or will you be sitting on the sidelines?

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to pursue FIPS, this is it.

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Walt Paley

Walt Paley

Walter Paley is the VP of Communications for SafeLogic. He is responsible for strategy, content, marketing, and outreach. Walt has worked with a series of start-ups and companies in growth stages, including Nukona (acquired by Symantec), Qubole, Bitzer Mobile (acquired by Oracle), and TigerText, among others. An Alumnus of the psychology program at UC San Diego, Walt lives in Southern California with his wife, kids, and their black lab, Echo.

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