In a surprising move, BlackBerry announced its purchase of the mobile device management company Good Technology for $425 million this week.
The move represents a change in strategic focus for the previously all-conquering mobile giant. It was once a dominant name in the mobile market, particularly the corporate arena, but in recent years, BlackBerry has witnessed a catastrophic slump in its market share.
According to historical reports, BlackBerry’s US mobile market share dropped from 42 per cent in September 2009 to a meagre 1.5 per cent in July of this year. With figures like these, BlackBerry doesn’t appear to have much of a future in selling handsets, so it makes sense for them to look elsewhere.
The purchase of Good Technology is not necessarily a strange move considering the fact that BlackBerry has always been at the forefront of the secure mobile market, focussing heavily on enterprise.
BlackBerry COO Marty Beard indicated in a company blog post that there is solid logic in BlackBerry’s move.
“But when you look more closely, you see that we share a common heritage in security and our strengths complement each other incredibly well,” Beard wrote.
As the company shifts towards a mobile security platform, their acquisitions strategy has also evolved. Last year, BlackBerry purchased German voice encryption firm Secusmart. This year, they bought enterprise file security company WatchDox. This adds up to a series of building blocks designed to move BlackBerry from one market to a different one.
R Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research, believes the new entity can now access the most popular systems on iOS and Android. “The result is a powerhouse EMM offering with 70+ security certificates, but the real gold here is the ability to get to a platform to support Internet of Things,” he said.
The move has generally been well received by the industry, and it appears to be a sensible strategy for BlackBerry and Good Technology. The brands can complement one another in a market where it is increasingly difficult to flourish.