BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY): Competitive Threat Questions Still Persist

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BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) seems to be bombarded with questions of rising competitive threats, especially after Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s deal with International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM). Investors and analysts were expecting the company to alleviate those concerns at its Security Summit on July 29.

Secusmart to enhance BlackBerry’s security suite

At the event, the Canadian company announced the acquisition of German high-security data and voice encryption company Secusmart. BlackBerry executives highlighted that the company continues to build the most robust security solution for enterprises. As large corporations embrace BYOD, it’s become extremely challenging to protect data. The company said its solution is the most robust and secure for enterprises. Yesterday, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) ditched BlackBerry devices in favor of Apple’s iPhone.

Secusmart has an impressive client list including the Canadian and German governments and NATO. Though the German company will continue to operate independently, it will definitely enhance BlackBerry’s security suite. Morgan Stanley analysts James E. Faucette and Meta Marshall said in a research note that they expected the Canadian company to show off some new customer testimonials or announce partnerships. That would have gone a long way to quiet the competitive threat questions.

BlackBerry will struggle to find new customers

Analysts believe that there are still several customers for whom security is the most important factor. They include governments, financial services, health care and other regulated sectors. But today most enterprises are embracing mobility for workflow transformation. These businesses are keen to see productivity improvements, so they will eventually provide a larger percentage of their employees with mobility solutions. This is where lies a much bigger opportunity.  Without a competitive solution in this part of the enterprise market, BlackBerry will find it difficult to gain new customers. Morgan Stanley has an Equal weight rating on the stock with $7 price target.

In contrast, Cormark Securities analysts Richard Tse and Andrew McGee is very much optimistic about BlackBerry’s prospects in enterprise mobility. They said in a research note that last year investors were worried whether the company can survive. But now BlackBerry has moved from defense to offense after putting its house in order. The Waterloo-based company has shifted its focus back on growth investments. Tse and McGee believe the BBM Protected alone could be a “multi-hundred million dollar” revenue opportunity. Cormark Securities as a Buy rating on the stock with $11.50 price target.

BlackBerry shares sank 1.96% to $9.52 at 12:02 PM EDT on Thursday.

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