BlackBerry Ltd Touts Security But Is It Enough?

BlackBerry Ltd Touts Security But Is It Enough?
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At its security summit last week, BlackBerry leaned heavily on its security services and features. But will security be enough to save the struggling company? Some analysts are encouraged by CEO John Chen’s seeming revival of the company, although others, like CIBC analysts, aren’t yet convinced that BlackBerry is turning around.

BlackBerry tries to benefit from eavesdropping fears

In a report dated July 31, 2014, analysts Todd Coupland and Robin Manson-Hing said they attended BlackBerry’s security summit last year. The company focused on secure communications for industries that are highly regulated. The CIBC team is unsure whether this particular market will become big enough to put a stop to the company’s declining services revenue.

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However, Chen believes that as worries about eavesdropping continue to grow, their business will improve. And by combining their EZ Pass for a free upgrade to BES 12, he’s expecting to see more enterprise service revenue. Coupland and Manson-Hing said this is possible but that they want to see more about timing before they can recommend buying BlackBerry stock. They also want to see if BlackBerry’s EZ Pass program will stabilize its enterprise subscriber base.

Hands on with BlackBerry products

The analysts had an opportunity to try out Secusmart’s offerings. BlackBerry announced last week that it had struck a deal to acquire the small company. They reported being impressed with the demo of the company’s product as integrated with BlackBerry phone calls. They found that the integration caused no lag in the phone’s performance.

They also had a chance to try out six other demo products and BES 10 and eBBM. They found it interesting that none of the products were partners but that “most were under the radar features.” They said one of the most interesting offerings was being able to add “a geo perimeter for usage and rights management.”

The analysts say all of BlackBerry’s segments now focus on security. For example, the company’s Certicom subsidiary offers cryptography as integrated with chips made by QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM). They also note that cars running BlackBerry’s QNX operating system have so far not been hacked, suggesting a higher level of security with the operating system. They believe the most overlooked parts of BlackBerry’s offerings is the higher encryption level and also the email compression, compared to competing services that use Active Synch.

The CIBC team continues to rate BlackBerry as Sector Underperformer with a $6.25 per share price target.

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