There must be some kind of irony award for using a security summit to attack the use of strong encryption, and BlackBerry CEO John Chen seems determined to win it. Speaking at the BlackBerry Security Summit, Chen said that he is ‘disturbed’ by Apple’s decision to work hard to keep its devices and messaging services secure, reports Patently Apple.
President Barack Obama has said in the past that he’s not allowed to use an iPhone for security reasons (though he does use a WiFi-only iPad) – but the NY Times reports that senior White House aides finally can. The change of policy comes as part of a major update to elderly White House technology.
BlackBerry phones were once the default choice for enterprise, the combination of physical keyboard and secure messaging facility the two key selling-points. Those days are long gone.
The company dismissed the iPhone when it was launched in 2007, claiming that touchscreen phones could never compete with physical keyboards – before doing a U-turn by launching its own touchscreen phone less than a year later. A series of major service outages and a failure to deliver the promised BlackBerry 10 in 2011 sealed the company’s fate as a major player, and it today appears set to completely cede the secure messaging space to Apple.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen effectively admitted in December that the company had a ‘backdoor’ into its supposedly secure messaging system, and the company has now stated that it will this year make only Android phones – a platform not noted for its security credentials. This shortly after Microsoft’s Windows Phone looked even more irrelevant, the company reporting that revenues had halved year-on-year …
The Ottawa Business Journal is reporting that Apple has leased a 22,000 ft space in Kanata, Ontario. Notably, the location is in close proximity to the BlackBerry QNX offices. Whether Apple is interested in attracting QNX employees for itself is not clear. It is definitely possible that the geography is coincidental. However, QNX is known to be working on autonomous driving and Apple may want to take some of this engineering talent for its own Apple Car research.
BlackBerry is back in the news today as the company is making a move further into the enterprise mobility management space. BlackBerry is buying the Sunnyvale, California-based company Good Technology in an all-cash deal worth $425 million. For BlackBerry, the purchase is about investing into cross-platform mobile device management for enterprise customers, an increasing focus for the company since it’s reign as the top handset maker was stifled by iOS and Android.
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.
Included in Good’s portfolio of products is the Good Collaboration Suite for iOS and Android which includes enterprise-focused calendar, email, messaging, and document sharing apps for business customers.
In announcing the acquisition, BlackBerry notes that iOS makes up a majority of Good’s install base at 64% with Android and Windows Phone following. BlackBerry has also had its hand in more consumer-focused apps with BlackBerry Messenger for iOS plus a number of business-centric apps for the platform.
The two companies shared an executive Q&A to discuss the deal. Particularly interesting in that was Good CEO Christy Wyatt’s comments on wearables including the Apple Watch:
In addition to smartphones and tablets running iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS, Good will enable BlackBerry to add support for wearables. This is something we do today for both Apple Watch and Android Wear.
As regular readers will know, it took a little while for the Apple Watch to really grow on me. But even back when I wasn’t convinced I needed a smartwatch, I still had to admire the design. And the Digital Crown was a large part of how Apple got the smartwatch right when others hadn’t yet cracked it. A fundamental problem with a small touchscreen is that touching it covers up much of the content. The Digital Crown overcomes that, allowing us to scroll content without our thumb getting in the way.
But while today’s iPhone screens may be larger than they used to be, they are still pretty small in the scheme of things. Scrolling with a thumb still covers up a chunk of the content. Worse, it’s easy to accidentally tap on targets accidentally including ads. There have been numerous occasions since using Apple Watch when my thumb started absent-mindedly reaching for the non-existent Digital Crown on my iPhone … Expand Expanding Close
After passing “the baton to new leadership” three and a half years ago, ex-Research In Motion chief executive Jim Balsillie has publicly admitted in a new interview what everyone already knows: the iPhone was devastating to the company’s BlackBerry smartphone business. The Associated Pressreports Balsillie’s comments came during a Q&A session with the authors of the recently released “Losing the Signal. The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry” book (Amazon/iBooks): Expand Expanding Close
Undeterred, Typo released a modified version of the keyboard which it claimed didn’t infringe Blackberry’s patents. Blackberry disagreed and took Typo back to court again. Blackberry says that case has now been settled, with Typo agreeing to permanently withdraw its iPhone keyboard cases from sale.
The settlement refers to keyboards for devices “smaller than 7.9 inches,” meaning Typo is free to continue selling its iPad mini model.
Last week potential Republican Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush made headlines when he was spotted wearing an Apple Watch on the still-exploring-but-definitely-running campaign trail, using the press opportunity as a chance to dish out the zinger that its health apps were better than Obamacare.
In line with our report from earlier this month, Apple today launched its first trade-in program for non-iPhones in its Apple Retail Stores. The program allows users of select Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry phones to bring in their devices and receive credit toward the immediate purchase of a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus (but not an Apple Watch). Apple first launched its standard iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in 2013, and the company expanded the feature to the iPad last year. Apple made today’s announcement on the individual retail store pages, indicating that the program is so far now available in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, and multiple retail sources say that the program has indeed gone live today. A version of the iPhone trade-in program that does not support non-iPhones is launching this week in China.
Apple reported the largest profit ever recorded by a public company in the holiday quarter, mostly driven by sales of 74 million iPhones with an average selling price of $687. According to Cannacord, this meant Apple captured 93% of handset smartphone profits. Perhaps more staggering is that it claims Apple dominated on similar levels across the entire of 2014 — with 79% of mobile device profits.
The analyst expects continued growth for the iPhone for the next few users, with an estimated 650 million iPhone users by the end of 2018.
Typo, the Ryan Seacrest-backed company selling an iPhone case with an integrated hardware keyboard, has been ordered to pay BlackBerry around $860,600 in the ongoing case between the two companies, Reuters reports.
If you’re unfamiliar, BlackBerry didn’t particularly like the Typo keyboard’s resemblance to its own iconic, albeit obsolete, keyboard included on its dwindling smartphone lineup and covered by its patents. After the court handed down an injunction following an original suit filed in January of 2014, a US District Judge in San Francisco ruled this week that Typo will have to pay the £567,303, or approximately $860,600, fine for violating the injunction and continuing to sell the product.
Despite little interest from anyone and generally poor reviews, Typo plans to keep making its keyboard cases and noted to Reuters that the fines do not relate to its latest generation of Typo 2 products unveiled at CES last month.
BlackBerry Messenger for iPhone (it’s OK to laugh)
If you can’t beat ’em, tell the government to force ’em to let you beat ’em. That’s the approach BlackBerry CEO John Chen wants to take to mobile software development. Today Chen wrote in a blog post on the BlackBerry website that he believes the issue of net neutrality requires the government to not only promote and protect neutrality not only among wireless and broadband carriers, but also among app and content providers.
Chen argues that it’s pointless to tell Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and other carriers that they can’t discriminate against certain data while still allowing applications and content providers to discriminate against certain platforms.
BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB) (“BlackBerry”) is aware of certain press reports published today with respect to a possible offer by Samsung to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry’s policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation, and accordingly it does not intend to comment further.
Samsung approached BlackBerry regarding a possible takeover of the company for as high as $7.5 billion, according to a report from Reuters (via CNBC). BlackBerry stock has jumped 16% following the report.
Blackberry stock skyrocketed Wednesday afternoon after a report that the device maker had been approached by Samsung about a potential takeover… At its high, Blackberry was up more than 21 percent… South Korea’s Samsung proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, which represents a premium of 38 percent to 60 percent over BlackBerry’s current trading price, the source said.
The report says executives from Samsung and BlackBerry met last week regarding the possible takeover, but both companies declined to offer a statement to Reuters for the story. The buy would be mostly for access to the patent treasure trove according to the GlobeandMail.
Smartphone company Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has recently approached BlackBerry Ltd to buy the company for as much as $7.5-billion, looking to gain access to its patent portfolio, according to a person familiar with the matter and documents seen by Reuters. South Korea’s Samsung proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, which represents a premium of 38 per-cent to 60 per-cent over BlackBerry’s current trading price, the source said.
Recently Samsung announced a partnership with BlackBerry in an attempt to push its Knox security services and mobile devices to enterprise customers, and it’s likely Samsung would be after BlackBerry’s patents and presence in the enterprise. The companies announced in November that the partnership would include bringing BlackBerry’s BES12 platform to Samsung Galaxy devices equipped with Knox.
BlackBerry currently develops its enterprise platforms and BBM messaging services for both iOS and Android, but what an acquisition might mean for support on non-Samsung devices remains to be seen.
The update also includes some design adjustments, BlackBerry says, adding to the “fresh new look and feel” of the updated version for iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. A preview screenshot of the new version of BlackBerry Messenger for iPhone (seen above on the right) shows the user interface refinements coming to the messaging app.
In order to get the full amount, you’ll need to trade a brand-new iPhone 6 (or presumably a 6 Plus, though it’s not specifically listed on the chart). The trade-in value for each device is actually much lower (ranging from $90 to $400), but shoppers buying a Passport will get a “top-up” worth an additional $150.
If, for whatever reason, you’d like to take advantage of this offer, you’ll need to wait just a few weeks. The program goes into effect on December 1st and runs through February 13th.
The latest numbers from Strategy Analytics reveal that iOS and Android combined to capture 96% global market share in the third quarter. iOS and Android accounted for 12.3% market share and 83.6% global market share respectively for the three-month period ending September. Those figures arrive just one day after the research firm reported that Chinese company Xiaomi has become the third-largest smartphone maker in the world.
Android continued to be a dominant player in global smartphone operating system market share, increasing its lead over iOS by three percentage points compared to the year-ago quarter. Apple’s mobile operating system held 12.3% market share during the third quarter, trailed by Windows Phone (3.3%) and BlackBerry (0.7%). Other mobile platforms accounted for less than 0.1% market share. Expand Expanding Close
BlackBerry, however, is taking this report as an opportunity to remind you it still has a messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger, which it says is a more secure alternative to iMessage. In a recent blog post (via BGR), the handset maker goes on to list five reasons why its messaging platform is better than iMessage: Expand Expanding Close
The latest enterprise market share data from Good Technology shows that iOS holds two-thirds of the market, at 67 percent, but has dropped five points to Android – which increased its share to 32 percent. Windows Phone remains flat (and irrelevant) at just 1 percent. (BlackBerry data is not included as the company uses its own servers and activations are invisible to Good Technology.) Expand Expanding Close
Seacrest’s Typo, the BlackBerry-like physical keyboard for the iPhone, didn’t last long the first time around. BlackBerry sued, describing it as “a blatant infringement against BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard,” and succeeded in getting an injunction against the $99 accessory.
Seacrest – the company co-founded by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest – responded by redesigning the keyboard and is now taking pre-orders for the Typo 2. The new model features a backlight, battery indicator and lock key, but otherwise looks strikingly similar to the original.
Shipping is scheduled for mid-September – assuming BlackBerry doesn’t have another injunction in place by then …
Ford’s recently departed CEO and President Alan Mulally may have just joined Google’s Board of Directors, but the automobile company is handing its smartphone allegiance over to Apple. A Ford spokesperson tells Bloomberg the automobile manufacturer is positioned to replace its employee BlackBerry smartphones with company-issued iPhones to be used by its global workforce.
“We are going to get everyone on iPhones,” Tatchio said. “It meets the overall needs of the employees because it is able to serve both our business needs in a secure way and the needs we have in our personal lives with a single device.”
Having all employees on the same smartphone will improve security and simplify information technology management, Tatchio said. Ford is making “no extra investment” to convert to iPhones, other than the cost of replacing the devices, she said.
According to Bloomberg’s report, Ford will distribute Apple’s iPhone to 3,300 company employees by the end of this year while the goal is to replace 6,000 phones within the next two years. The report also notes Ford is hiring for a position to monitor global corporate iPhone deployment. Globally, Ford employs about 181,000 employees although it’s unclear from the report how many receive company-issued cell phones. Expand Expanding Close
As Samsung has done with past TV commercials for its flagship Galaxy S5, its latest ad for the device again takes the iPhone head-on. The new ad, titled “Wall Hugger”, focuses on mocking the iPhone’s battery life while showing off the S5’s Ultra Power Saving Mode and removable battery features. And in usual Samsung-fashion, it also borrows a line from comments Blackberry executive John Chen made back in March… Expand Expanding Close
BlackBerry has announced an upcoming release of its BBM client for iOS devices that includes an easier signup flow and an improved process for adding new contacts.
The new simplified registration process will request only a name, password, and email address, as opposed to the current app which requires much more information. The update will also improve the process for adding new contacts. Currently users who get an invite need send their own PIN back to the other party so they can be mutual contacts. In the new version that step will be automated. Tapping the invitation link in the email will complete the entire process.
The update also adds new emoticons to the app’s existing selection. BlackBerry Messenger 2.2 will be available on the iOS App Store in the coming days.