BlackBerry looking to add Windows Phone support to BES middleware?

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In an interview with CrackBerry John Chen, BlackBerry's CEO, suggests that BlackBerry will add Windows Phone support to the company's BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) middleware product. While the details are thin on the ground the implication is that Chen sees a future BES first sales strategy, rather than a continuation of Blackberry's traditional handset driven sales model. Part of this would involve extending BES platform agnostic credentials, including adding support for Windows Phone.

BlackBerry faces a fiercely competitive mobile device management features (MDM) market from both other big players, such as Microsoft, and numerous smaller third party player. However, BlackBerry does have an incumbent position, exceptional brand recognition, and a well deserved reputation for security in the enterprise space. 

BES10 already provides limited support for Android and iOS, but it is clear Chen recognises there is more work to do here, especially around helping companies deploy, manage, and provide security for mobile apps and services. Adding support for Windows Phone would also be a necessary step, especially as Windows Phone looks set to play a bigger role in the business to business device market (e.g. Nokia is targetting 20% share and the number two position in the UK).


In the interview Chen is quoted as saying:

"BlackBerry is about security, about productivity, and about communications. I think those could agnostically be put on anything.

You could be an iPhone customer, and also a BlackBerry customer. You could be an Android customer, and also a BlackBerry customer. It's not mutually exclusive. I think that's an important key message of the company going forward…

I could put a sales team on Wall Street…  we will go in and tell them why BES is the best thing for them, and go through the road map, the offerings, and all that good stuff. We're going to protect their investment in iPhone, and Android, and everywhere else, even with Windows Phones."

Later in the interview Chen also comments on of the recent decoupling of BBM from BlackBerry devices, which might be seen as an early yard stick for a software and service first approach:

"As you can see, the results are very exciting. You've got 45 million BlackBerry users, you got 40 million Android/iOS users, so 85 million users for social messaging. It's getting up there."

BlackBerry has yet to announce any plans to bring BBM to Windows Phone, but it would be the next logical platform for the social messaging service to support.

Chen also makes it clear that BlackBerry is not stepping away from devices and remains committed to continued investments in BlackBerry 10 and QNX, but there is a clear suggestion of a strategy shift, with a return to the company's traditional strengths.