Sunday, September 6, 2015

Backberry to Acquire Good Technology


Blackberry, makers of the same named smartphones, is acquiring mobile device management mainstay Good Technology.

Waterloo, Ontario and Sunnyvale, Calif. – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB), a global leader in secure mobile communications, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Good Technology for $425 million in cash.
The acquisition of Good is aligned with BlackBerry’s strategy to offer customers the most complete, end-to-end solution that secures the entire mobile enterprise, across all platforms. Enhanced by Good, BlackBerry will expand its ability to offer a unified, secure mobility platform with applications for any mobile device on any operating system – supported with security that has been certified by governments around the world embedded in every component of the mobility infrastructure.
 
Good will bring complementary capabilities and technologies to BlackBerry, including secure applications and containerization that protects end user privacy. With Good, BlackBerry will expand its ability to offer cross-platform EMM solutions that are critical in a world with varying deployment models such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD); corporate owned, personally enabled (COPE); as well as environments with multiple user interfaces and operating systems. Good has expertise in multi-OS management with 64 percent of activations from iOS devices, followed by a broad Android and Windows customer base. 
“By acquiring Good, BlackBerry will better solve one of the biggest struggles for CIOs today, especially those in regulated industries: securely managing devices across any platform. By providing even stronger cross-platform capabilities our customers will not have to compromise on their choice of operating systems, deployment models or any level of privacy and security,” said John Chen, BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO. “Like BlackBerry, Good has a very strong presence in enterprises and governments around the world and, with this transaction, BlackBerry will enhance its sales and distribution capabilities and further grow its enterprise software revenue stream.”

With this acquisition, CEO John Chen is shoring up his company by safe guarding it from a future where Blackberry devices may no longer exist and has to focus on security and backend device management software.  Good Technology has been around for a very long time.  I recall attending webcasts  demonstrating their secure email technology for Palm OS devices like the Palm Tungsten C.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) Ben Hummett writes:

"BlackBerry last November introduced the latest version of its mobile device management software, which works across mobile operating systems, including Google Inc.’s Android operating and Apple Inc.’s iOS. But analysts have questioned demand for the software, dubbed BES12, after the company surprised the market in its fiscal first quarter ended May 30 by including revenue from technology licensing as part of total software sales. That move raised concerns about overall sales of BES12."

"BES", is short for the Blackberry Enterprise Server, the software that has long driven the secure backend communications of Blackberry smartphones.  As demand of Blackberry smartphones has declined, so has sales of BES.  With BES12, Blackberry tried to make the software more attractive to companies who have Blackberry smartphones deployed by also adding support for Apple's iOS and Googles Android devices.  With the Good acquisition, Blackberry has legitimized their leadership position at the mobile device management (MDM) for fleets of mobile devices.

Many have written Blackberry off after a cataclysmic sales implosion following many failed attempts to out do the iPhone.  Untimely, Blackberry faltered by misunderstanding the powerful allure of the "prosumer" market who gobbled up iPhones and Android devices by the millions.

John Chen was appointed Executive Chairmen and CEO after his major turn around of Sybase, a once popular enterprise database software company.  Sybase was sold to SAP for 12bn.

While readers of this blog know that I'm a fan of Apple.  With the fate of Palm OS/webOS unknown, I have to keep rooting for Blackberry to make some sort of comeback.  Mobile needs to be more than a two horse (iOS and Android) race.

You can read the full press release on the Blackberry website.
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