BlackBerry takes a hit as Samsung readies enterprise platform

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BlackBerry (BBRY) just can’t catch a break. It’s long-awaited Z10 smartphone is finally hitting the market, just as Samsung, now the world’s leading maker of mobile devices, readies its own enterprise solutions.

“Checks indicate Samsung is preparing an aggressive push into the enterprise segment and it has Blackberry’s enterprise and SMB business in its cross-hairs,” wrote Detwiler Fenton’s Jeff Johnston. “Over the last couple of years, Samsung has been investing in developing its mobile enterprise platform and has been poaching key engineers and managers from BBRY and we expect a major announcement at Mobile World Conference reflecting this initiative.” [Update: On February 19, Samsung announced an agreement to extend the capabilities of its enterprise-designated devices by intergrating GENBAND’s unified communications applications.]

Samsung calls its Samsung for Enterprise initiative SAFE, a reference to its focus on security. The world’s leading smartphone maker starts off at a slight disadvantage when it comes to security since its phones run Google’s Android operating system, considered less secure than other systems because of its open architecture. But mobile security experts say there is an unmet demand for secure Android devices, particularly among government customers.

“We’re working with some governments and … Apple is not serving them. They desperately want to use iPad but don’t feel it is secure enough,” said David Jevans, CEO of Marble Security, which has recently patented a solution for cloud-based management of mobile devices. “It would be a LOT easier for somebody to take an Android tablet and add the level of security and create a government specific product, a government-oriented tablet that would meet all their security requirements with Android,” said Jevans. “I don’t know anyone doing that [and]it’s definitely a burning need.”

Apparently Samsung is ready. “Over the last couple of years, Samsung’s enterprise group was chartered with developing an enterprise platform that could take advantage of the Android ecosystem but that also delivered best in class security policies, application management, email, unified communications etc. to compete with BBRY,” according to Detwiler Fenton. “Samsung must now believe it has enhanced SAFE to effectively take share from BBRY as we understand it has hired well north of 100 sales and sales support staff to serve the enterprise and small business markets.”

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Martha DeGrasse

Editor, Wireless Infrastructure
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Martha DeGrasse is an editor at RCR Wireless News, and is the creator of the RCR Mobile Minute. Martha has been with RCR Wireless News since 2011. Her current focus areas are wireless infrastructure and heterogeneous networks. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her at Twitter @mdegrasseRCR