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BlackBerry responds to Gartner's call for clients to ditch BB products

By Matt Hamblen, Computerworld
September 30, 2013 10:35 AM ET

Computerworld - BlackBerry this weekend defended its ability to continue serving enterprise customers with smartphones and secure mobile management software, responding to a Gartner report recommending that its corporate clients stop using the Canadian vendor's products.

[FIRST SHOT: Gartner to IT shops: Game over]

"We remain steadfast in our mission to deliver the most secure and powerful mobile management solutions and smartphones to our customers," BlackBerry said in a statement emailed to Computerworld on Saturday.

The BlackBerry statement called the conclusions by Gartner analysts in the report "purely speculative."

In the eight-page report released on Friday, Gartner urged its enterprise clients to find alternatives to BlackBerry smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers within six months.

BlackBerry's full response yesterday follows:

"We recognize and respect external parties' opinions on BlackBerry's recent news. However, many of the conclusions by Gartner about the potential impact of a sale or other strategic alternatives, are purely speculative.

"BlackBerry is restructuring and pursuing strategic alternatives to increase its focus on its core enterprise business. We remain steadfast in our mission to deliver the most secure and powerful mobile management solutions and smartphones to our customers.

"That commitment has been met with support from enterprises adopting BlackBerry and BES 10, which has more than 25,000 commercial and test servers installed to date, up from 19,000 in July.

"BES 10 is also the only EMM [Enterprise Mobile Management] platform to be awarded 'Authority to Operate' on U.S. Department of Defense Networks. Everyone at BlackBerry is grateful for the ongoing support of our customers, and we are working harder than ever to keep it."

Analyst Ken Dulaney, author of the Gartner report, wrote that his recommendations came after hearing concerns raised by clients after a series of recent blows to BlackBerry -- a second quarter loss of $965 million amid poor Z10 sales, a plan to lay off 4,500 of 12,500 workers, and management's agreement to sell the company to Fairfax Financial Holdings of Toronto for $4.7 billion.

The report noted that a Gartner survey of 400 IT and business leaders in August -- before the spate of bad news hit -- found that while 24% of respondents are now using the BlackBerry platform, the number would drop to 9% by 2016.

Dulaney did praise BlackBerry for trying to take the business private, though he posited that Fairfax or another bidder would split up the divisions, leaving the core business to focus on wireless services.

"The [smartphone] hardware business will remain for sale, but there will be few buyers, leaving BlackBerry to attempt to emphasize niche markets, such as high-security environments," Dulaney wrote.

He suggested the hardware group may be sold to a foreign government. Other analysts have suggested it could be the Canadian government. (BlackBerry is based in Waterloo, Ont.)

Dulaney said QNX, the foundation of the BlackBerry 10 operating system that runs the new Q10 and Z10 smartphones, could be reoriented to focus on real-time applications used in autos or pieces of the emerging Internet of Things.

Originally published on www.computerworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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