BlackBerry and Good Technology announced today that BlackBerry is acquiring Good Technology. A post on the Inside BlackBerry blog starts out with, “Today BlackBerry announced plans to acquire Good Technology. For some, this news may be a surprise.”
Well, maybe for some. For me the only surprise is why it took so long for BlackBerry to take my advice and succumb to its destiny. BlackBerry has been a footnote in the mobile industry for years and has virtually zero chance of playing any significant role as a mobile device manufacturer. Any aspirations of soaring to its former dominance of the mobile industry are delusional.
I saw the writing on the wall years ago. I wrote in 2013 that BlackBerry should embrace its fate and play to its strengths:
The ship has sailed on BlackBerry as a mobile platform, and BlackBerry smartphones and tablets are not long for this world. But many companies remain entrenched in the BlackBerry ecosystem. They love BBM. They appreciate the security and the control BlackBerry provides. By extending the features and capabilities that customers love most about BlackBerry to iOS and Android, BlackBerry enables its customers to incorporate or transition to other platforms without losing the BlackBerry mobile-management tools they value so highly.
It only took a few years but apparently BlackBerry agrees. The company and its shareholders have lost millions with the various futile attempts to regain mobile device relevancy. CEOs have come and gone—walking away with tens of millions of dollars in bonuses and severance packages for…well, I’m not really sure for what. Not burning the company to the ground even faster? Meanwhile BlackBerry could—and should—have been positioning itself as THE secure mobile device management platform and pitching all existing BlackBerry customers on why the BlackBerry ecosystem is still the best way to manage your mobile environment no matter what mobile devices you use.
Christy Wyatt, CEO of Good Technology, wrote an open letter to Good Technology customers about the BlackBerry acquisition. She explained, “Joining forces will enable customers and partners to benefit from our combined secure mobility expertise, enabling BlackBerry to deliver the most comprehensive secure mobile platform in the market for all mobile devices protecting customers’ security and privacy. Together, we have more resources and the ability to drive further innovation and high value solutions.”
“Our acquisition of Good will mean the end of compromise for customers. We will be able to provide even stronger cross-platform capabilities—ensuring customers won’t have to make any sacrifices in operating systems, deployment models, or any level of privacy and security in their mobile environments,” stated Marty Beard, COO of BlackBerry in the Inside BlackBerry interview. “I truly believe that combined, BlackBerry and Good will raise the bar in the enterprise mobility market, enabling our customers to be more productive and protecting their sensitive data across all of their mobile end points.”
BlackBerry is acquiring Good Technology and it’s being positioned that way, but in my opinion Good Technology is bringing more to the table and has more to lose in this arrangement. The move definitely makes BlackBerry stronger. It remains to be seen whether or not this is a good move for Good Technology or whether Good Technology customers will benefit.
I do believe that BlackBerry is in a unique position to be a leader in mobile device management, though. I said as much more than two years ago. Good Technology is a leading provider of secure cross-platform mobile device management so the merger of the two makes sense.
I should probably get a check from BlackBerry for my consulting services. Some recognition perhaps. Alas, I expect I will have to be content with a simple “I told you so”.
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