Last week at Google I/O there were many announcements made – one involved the very important topic of security. Google announced that they would collaborate with Samsung and incorporate their KNOX as a basis for their security in Android L. KNOX is only on Samsung devices at the moment, but when Android L is released, KNOX will help add some security to the new Operating System. This is a terrific announcement and will help allow Android to move more quickly into the government, military and enterprise world where there is huge opportunity for expansion and growth.
It did not take John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry to start a flurry of patronizing statements – saying that it was a nice start, but not near enough…shame on you Android! In John Chen's mind, only BlackBerry can provide the security that business enterprise needs and that KNOX has not been widely adopted with fewer than 2 million Samsung phones running KNOX while there are tens of millions of trusted BlackBerry devices. Hey John, did you ever think to consider that KNOX has only been out a year – there needs to be marketing done and time before KNOX will quickly outnumber BlackBerry devices. What BlackBerry flagship smartphones does he think business enterprises are going to buy and use? Without the name recognition of the smartphone around and no marketing money, BlackBerry will die a slow death.
Chen says that KNOX is trying to "build a fortress upon an insecure foundation" and "that BlackBerry architects security into every single layer." He brags that BlackBerry is certified for use by the U.S Department of Defense, however, he fails to mention that Samsung has also been certified. Forrester Research analyst Tyler Shields last month said that "Security was baked into the BlackBerry devices and BES system at design time and will continue to add business value above and beyond the commoditized MDM components…BlackBerry will remain a leader in the hardware security and device management arena." John Chen finishes up his grandstand by saying:
"At BlackBerry, our entire focus is on making workers more productive, and organizations more secure. While we applaud Google and Samsung for their plans, we don't think it's enough for security-minded enterprises. Instead, look to companies that have literally invested 3 decades into advancing the twin causes of security and productivity. In other words, don't be dazzled by those who can talk the security talk. Instead, look to the company that has proven repeatedly it can walk the walk."
I was optimistic for BlackBerry when Chen was first hired – although like everything else BlackBerry does, it was too little too late. Now he believes that enterprises will stick with BlackBerry solutions over Android and I am sorry, but I just do not see that happening looking five years down the road. I wanted BlackBerry to survive, if for nothing else, the competition, but if Mr. Chen truly believes what he is saying, then I do not have much hope for him or BlackBerry.