IoT Ecosystem > Mobile Workforce Blog

EMM Market, Meet Your New 800lbs Gorilla: BlackBerry + Good

by Gina Luk | Sep 04, 2015

BlackBerry’s acquisition of Good Technology, announced on September 4, creates an EMM powerhouse in terms of market share, technology capabilities and customer reach that will challenge competitive technology providers across all enterprise mobility market segments.

At $425 million (in cash), the deal is BlackBerry’s biggest acquisition, and the latest in a series of recent strategic buyouts for BlackBerry (AtHoc, WatchDox, Movirtu & Secusmart) — all aimed at bolstering its EMM and enterprise software capabilities. For Good, the buyout provides a nice exit after a bumpy run at an IPO in an unfriendly stock market.

The deal combines arguably the two leaders (and fierce rivals) in providing EMM solutions for regulated industries. BlackBerry has long been the industry standard for device and infrastructure for finance and government. However, the proliferation of iOS and Android, requirements to support broader mobile endpoints opened opportunity for EMM rivals. Among them, Good aggressively targeted BlackBerry’s customers.

Past competitiveness aside, the two companies have between them a plethora of government security and compliance certifications and intellectual property around enterprise mobility. Both vendors are popular among customers in regulated industries, and share common, and complimentary approaches to security management as well.

Good Technology CEO Christy Wyatt reactions to the deal were positive from shared BlackBerry/Good customers (who were contacted ahead of the announcement in confidence). The two vendors share many common accounts in which Good and BlackBerry are used in complimentary roles. This deal gives those customers a clearer idea of how to move forward.   

While customers apparently like the deal, many integration, channel and go to market challenges and questions remain. BlackBerry says we can expect to hear more in the next few months. Along these three areas are some serious questions and considerations for the newly combined firm:

  • Channel: Certainly, the deal opens up Good to a large channel of BlackBerry providers, particularly among carriers , where BlackBerry still has strong relationships. BlackBerry’s approach with its carrier channels has been centered around devices, tied to services and managed mobility. While Good also has many carrier ties, it’s approach is more software/SaaS-centric. It will be interesting to see BlackBerry infuse its channel ecosystem with such a pure software offering as Good. It should help accelerate integration and other professional services engagements with carriers.
  • Brand: Does Good go away? The company has strong brand recognition and loyalty. In past EMM acquisitions (IBM/FiberLink, VMWare/AirWatch) the acquired EMM brand has survived and stood alone as a separate entity. However, these buyouts involved larger non-EMM players buying into the market to expand portfolio. The BlackBerry/Good scenario is more of a tie-up of equals, and seems to require a different approach.   
  • Integrate, subsume or co-exist:  BlackBerry and Good have many overlapping functions and features at the EMM level, although each does a better job than the other in certain aspects (BlackBerry’s encryption and network are best-in-class; Good has stronger app wrapping, multi-OS support and superior cloud architecture). It’s always a conundrum with acquisitions, as to whether product teams will pick and choose the best features and technology to build a new product or simply use the acquired firm to cross-sell and bundle. We expect to see a bit of both near-term, but a strategic path towards the former would be better.

Lastly, the deal puts the rest of the EMM market on notice; combined, BlackBerry and Good nearly double the market share of any closest competitor. This combined company will be a formidable opponent for the likes of Citrix, MobileIron and AirWatch, and EMM/application integrator such as SAP and IBM. The deal also makes MobileIron a potential acquisition target as the last one standing as an enterprise-scale, pure-play EMM vendor.

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