It's been a while since BlackBerry had a good quarter. The company has struggled to find its niche in the mobile market since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. But BlackBerry's announcement Thursday has people talking.
BlackBerry announced it would partner with Samsung, the world's largest mobile phone maker, to provide security for the Korean company's phones. It comes as BlackBerry, a Canadian company, debuts BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12), its new security software. BlackBerry sees this new security software as a major part of its plan to get $500 million in revenue sales in the next fiscal year.
“BlackBerry has developed a very close partnership with Samsung and we’re committed to deepening the interaction between our engineering and product development teams for the long-term,” John Sims, BlackBerry's president of global enterprise services, said in a statement. “It is a natural progression in our path to providing our customers with more alternatives to meet their evolving mobile needs. Samsung KNOX offers a number of hardware and software security features and our partnership allows us to tightly integrate these capabilities with BES12.”
Beginning in 2015, Samsung devices will have BlackBerry's BES12 software, which will allow government agencies and corporations to manage security on BlackBerry, iOS, Android, and Windows devices. And for the first time, BlackBerry says, security software can manage medical equipment, industrial machinery, and motor vehicles.
"This is a win win," says Ramon Llamas, a research manager with IDC. "For BlackBerry, this means getting its services on more devices. And for Samsung, this allows it to approach its customers with a strong suite of enterprise devices. That's something Samsung has had trouble doing."
BlackBerry's mobile devices continue to lose their footing in the global mobile market. John Chen, who became the company's CEO last year, is trying to make the company profitable by shifting its focus on services and enterprise clients.
Mr. Chen was hired to help BlackBerry make money, and the company is making steady improvements, though it isn't currently profitable. Chen has looked for ways to make money outside the company. Mr. Llamas says bringing BlackBerry's software to more devices won't sell more of its handsets, but it will help the company make money.
"BlackBerry sees the writing on the wall. It realizes its market shares are under attack," Llams says. "BlackBerry knows Samsung has the resources to expand its enterprise software."
On Thursday, Chen said he is feeling good about the future of BlackBerry.
“I recall a year ago, when I first started, I was watching CNBC and one of our competitors was making fun of us,” Chen said, according to Forbes. “My advice to competitors is that we are not only a point product company, we are an EMM [Enterprise Mobility Management] solution, very broad and very deep. They need to understand that. They need to work for a living rather than have fun with us.”
BlackBerry's stock is up more than 10 percent on the day.