BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s Enterprise Service 10 and BB10 operating system have been approved by NATO to be used for classified communications up the ‘Restricted’ level, the company announced in a press release today, Adam Zeis of CrackBerry reports.
BlackBerry 10 platform security
“We built the new BlackBerry 10 platform from the ground up with the highest security needs of our government and enterprise customers in mind,” said Scott Totzke, Senior Vice President of Security at BlackBerry.
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This certification means that NATO offices and agencies in 28 countries that work with the organization can choose to use BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) technology in the field, opening the way for lucrative defense contracts. What this means practically depends on the results of Prem Watsa’s attempt to buy BlackBerry and the direction he chooses to take the company.
BlackBerry may change business model
The problem is that for a security-conscious organization deciding what infrastructure it wants to put in place for secure communications, the quality of the hardware isn’t the only consideration. If there is a chance that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) may radically change its business model, or that it may go under, it might make sense to work with another firm. We’ll know more about the buyout a month from now, but once the company goes private, its long-term strategy will probably become less clear to people on the outside.
On the other hand, if Watsa’s buyout attempt is successful (which seems likely), he has repeatedly mentioned that strong security is one of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s greatest strengths, and this could be a hint at what the company looks like five years from now. Instead of continuing to fight for consumer sales, BlackBerry could focus on the implementation of secure communications. Being a Canadian company whose reputation is still unsullied by the continuing NSA revelations could also be a major competitive advantage now that much of the US tech industry has been publicly linked with NSA operations.
“The fact that BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 and BlackBerry 10 smartphones have been approved for classified communications just months after debut, is testament to the thoroughness of its design and our commitment to our defense and government customers,” said Totzke, and maybe those are exactly the customers BlackBerry should have been courting along.