BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is in the fight of its life, now facing a threat from a phone with a similar name—the Blackphone. BlackBerry Enterprise Mobility Strategist Joe McGarvey said in a blog this week that Blackphone’s device is purely for consumers because it lacks adequate security features, touting his company’s as the best. Now Blackphone CEO Toby Weir-Jones has responded, and one thing’s clear: them’s fightin’ words.
Blackphone CEO reminds of BlackBerry’s past failings
Weir-Jones’ blog post on Medium is entitled: “Privacy People WANT To Buy.” It notes that BlackBerry called the security on its Blackphone “consumer-grade” and “inadequate” for enterprise customers. He said they believe consumers and enterprise customers deserve the same level of security and reminds consumers of where BlackBerry went wrong.
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The Blackphone CEO tips his hat to BlackBerry’s success in 2003 when the company released its “first proper smartphone.” But he goes on to say that in 2010, the company “was willing to compromise its integrity if sufficient pressure was applied by governments intent on spying on the messages sent via the ubiquitous devices.” He also said that BlackBerry wrongly states that an end-to-end system is the only option and that this approach enabled the company “to betray its customers and jettison its credibility.”
He believes that BlackBerry’s “restrictive” platform, lack of third party adoption and changing priorities by enterprises led to the company’s downfall. He says now some BlackBerry devices run Android apps, of which he claims there are more than 40 times more than legacy BlackBerry devices. In addition, BES now supports Android and Apple devices, and the company failed to sell its Playbook, Q10 and Z10 devices.
Weir-Jones also poked fun of BlackBerry’s stock price, noting that it has fallen 95%—from $230 a share to $11.51 a share—since its peak.
Blackphone says it’s “striking a chord with the market”
At this point, Blackphone has only one device on the market, which McGarvey said was a shortfall. However, Weir-Jones said they’re planning to launch more devices and that the “interplay” between their platform and Silent Circle’s encrypted communications “suggests” that the company has grabbed the market’s attention. He added that they offer “features and extensibility” that BlackBerry doesn’t have.
Among those features are encrypted voice communications. He claims that even if foreign governments demanded that they get access to Blackphone’s peer-to-peer system, they couldn’t even do it because there is no main control point that all users have to depend on. He also says their system is more flexible, easier to use, and more transparent than BlackBerry’s.
Blackphone: BlackBerry’s “slinging mud”
The CEO also pointed out that they announced themselves on Jan. 15 and showed off their first product on Feb. 24. He ended his post with a few snarky comments for BlackBerry:
T”hink how far we’ve come in such a short time, and what might be around the corner?—?we’re pretty sure Blackberry’s already wondering about it,” he wrote. “In the meantime, we’ll spend our time innovating and growing due to our adoption by carriers and Fortune 1000 customers (including 27 of the Fortune 50, plus 11 international governments) will continue, instead of slinging mud with our Canadian friends.”