By now, it should be obvious that the launch of BlackBerry 10 did not mark the comeback company executives were hoping for. Though the new operating system gained a lot of attention – much of it favorable – in the lead up to release, the devices running BlackBerry 10 failed to gain a significant amount of market share after going up against the likes of Android and iOS. To some, that was the expected outcome. After all, iOS and Android are both behemoths in the mobile OS space, so much so that it's going to be very difficult for anyone to move ahead. Unfortunately for BlackBerry, this was nothing if not true for the launch of BB10.
However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the long-struggling company. Though BlackBerry 10 devices failed to capture excellent sales numbers, it seems like there's a significant amount of interest in BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. Reuters is reporting that the number of companies either using or testing BES 10 has grown by 20% in just the last six months. It doesn't matter if you're at the bottom of the totem pole or enjoying living large at the top, 20% growth in six months is nothing to scoff at.
This news comes after John Chen, who is officially being called the company's "interim" chief executive, replaced former CEO Thorsten Heins. Chen's vision moving forward involves a BlackBerry that plays to its strengths, wooing enterprise customers instead of trying to compete directly with Android and iOS for market share. Refocusing, in this instance, makes a lot of sense. BlackBerry has always been big with business, so Chen can use that reputation to solidify its position as the go-to company for enterprise solutions.
Now, BlackBerry has 30,000 business that are either actively using or testing BES 10. That number could certainly grow in the future, as the service is now compatible with iOS and Android phones. This puts BlackBerry at a significant advantage in the enterprise space, as it means that companies won't need to buy BlackBerry devices in order to begin using BES 10. This is particularly important in an age where more and more employees are using their personal device as their work device as well – if BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 is compatible with an employee's preferred device, there isn't much for a business to lose by picking BES over other enterprise solutions.
BlackBerry will still have its share of competition in the enterprise space, however. We recently heard that more and more business were choosing Android as their preferred platform, with manufacturers like Samsung and LG beefing up security features to make their phones enterprise-ready. iOS has also been gaining some market share in the enterprise space, but the key difference here is that BlackBerry has already established itself as the core enterprise player. So long as it can impress with BES 10, it could definitely hold onto that dominance.
We have to say, refocusing BlackBerry's core business to enterprise seems like a great idea. BlackBerry 10 can't really be called a success in any sense, so BlackBerry definitely needed some kind of hit in order to stay relevant in the cutthroat mobile space. BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 could indeed be that hit, and with version 10.2 rolling out to customers now, its clear that the company is ready to support the platform.
Chen recently sent an open letter to customers saying BlackBerry was alive and kicking. After hearing about the success with BES 10, we're tempted to believe him.