This isn’t overall sales, this is tracking one deal that hit One Million Units and you don’t see deals at this level even for Apple, largely because BlackBerry is better set up for business both in platform and sales approach.
Of all the vendors, it is the only one that fully maintains a mature enterprise/government sales organization that can execute as this level. But given the perception that BlackBerry isn’t relevant in a world dominated by iOS and Android, why would anyone buy into BlackBerry at this level?
One word: security. With the U.S. Department of Defense constantly warning about a coming catastrophic event and the U.S. president on tour talking about the same thing to CEOs, it should be no surprise that large businesses and government entities are placing security as their number one requirement.
I used to run not only the security practice at Giga, but also the mobile practice and, currently, there is no other volume smartphone that can come close to the BlackBerry. This is largely because, like old Windows 95, the other platforms were designed to favor user choice over security.
While Apple has contained this exposure largely though its tight control of its platform (more for revenue protection and control than user security), Google didn’t even go that far and as a result malware is growing at an unprecedented rate on a platform that is already being highlighted as the least secure in the industry.
The BlackBerry platform was designed from the ground up to be secure and resistant to the kind of threats particularly facing the Android platform, which has it favored.
This week, BlackBerry uniquely previewed a platform to secure not only its phone, but also the other phones in the market. It’s called Secure Works. Personally, I’m not even sure Android can be secured, but BlackBerry stands out as the only phone vendor with a platform that addresses the problem on platforms other than its own on top of being more advanced. IT doesn’t like vendors that come in with problems; they like vendors that come in with solutions and BlackBerry uniquely entered the market with a solution to the massively growing security problem with BYOD and smartphones.
Right now, both the iOS and Android platforms have an uncertain future. Android, because it has been massively fragmented and faces a coming merger with Google’s other operating system, the Chrome OS, and iOS because Apple doesn’t share roadmaps and the firm’s valuation is in free fall at the moment. Suddenly the Blackberry platform appears far more stable. This is because BlackBerry shares its roadmap with IT buyers and the firm’s performance appears to be improving, creating what appears to be a more stable island in a suddenly unstable world of changing fortunes, changing strategies and changing vendors. IT likes stability and, strangely enough, BlackBerry through both disclosure and because its OS move is now behind it, appears more stable than iOS or Android.
Wrapping Up: There Is a Business Market
With all of the focus on BYOD and the consumer, we seem to forget there is and likely always will be a business market. Apple appears to be staffing up for that market; Samsung has positioned a number of security patch products in the hopes of fooling buyers that Android can be made secure; and this latest 1-milion-unit sale by BlackBerry showcases that not only is the business market there, but it is still impressively powerful.
In the end, it is likely the security exposure these phones increasingly represent will strengthen the business market. With phones getting more and more access to confidential information and increasingly lost or remotely compromised, the potential for a disclosed catastrophic breach is increasing exponentially and BlackBerry may be the only company positioned well to mitigate that exposure and actually benefit from the event.
So the reasons behind this big deal are that Blackberry not only uniquely addresses business needs, but it is also uniquely able to do big deals like this directly.