BlackBerry CEO John Chen continues his attempts to right the sinking ship, setting a strong focus on enterprise customers to return the company to its roots. Part of his strategy so far included making some key acquisitions during 2014, but have they helped?
Trefis analysts looked at the Movirtu and Secusmart acquisitions to see whether BlackBerry truly benefited from spending the money on them.
BlackBerry improves BYOD presence with Movirtu
One of the biggest trends that has a negative impact on BlackBerry’s share of the smartphone market is the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. The Trefis team said the acquisition of Movirtu was a step in the right direction for BlackBerry in dealing with this trend. Companies that allow employees to bring their own device and use it for work purposes has taken a chunk out of BlackBerry’s devices sales.
With the purchase of Movirtu, however, BlackBerry acquired a virtual SIM platform that lets users run their business and personal phone numbers on the same device. Movirtu splits mobile phone bills based on a breakdown of the employee’s business and work usage. Because of how important device management is again becoming for BlackBerry, the acquisition is an important one for the company. It provides the perfect complement to BES 12, which BlackBerry has been pushing by signing up users for its EZ Pas program in hopes of converting enterprise customers from free accounts into paying ones.
BlackBerry furthers security offerings with Secusmart
Chen has also emphasized the security of BlackBerry’s devices and systems, and this past July, the company agreed to buy German mobile security firm Secusmart. The company provides technology that battles eavesdropping and encrypts voice and data.
BlackBerry had collaborated with Secusmart in the past, but by acquiring the company, BlackBerry becomes an end-to-end provider of mobile security because it has total control over the entire process, including the hardware, operating system, device management and security.
This is an especially important area for BlackBerry in light of how common reports of electronic eavesdropping and surveillance have become. Although the Trefis team doesn’t think the acquisition will impact BlackBerry’s financial performance much or its appeal to the mass market, they think it could help boost the struggling company’s reputation in mobile security.
BlackBerry scores big with the Amazon Appstore
BlackBerry also struck a deal last year with Amazon which allows it to sell the company’s Appstore apps on BlackBerry 10 devices. This more than doubles the number of apps available to BlackBerry users and adds some key apps like Netflix, Candy Crush Saga and Pinterest, all of which weren’t available on the platform before.
App developers haven’t wanted to write apps for BlackBerry because of how small its share of the smartphone market is. Teaming up with Amazon enables the company to reduce the costs associated with trying to talk developers into creating apps for the BlackBerry platform.
Shares of BlackBerry dipped as much as 1% during regular trading hours today.