BlackBerry Ltd , is still at the center of its turnaround plan and the firm is trying out different acts in plan to perfect a home run for profits. The firm is pivoting to software, it has launched new phones, it has Android phones in the pipeline and it is getting into payments. In an on-stage interview today, CEO John Chen says the firm is emulating IBM as it licenses some 44,000 patents in its pivot to software.
John Chen understands the need to keep growing in a fast-changing tech world. The need to keep growing underscores much of BlackBerry’s recent actions (phones, software, acquisitions) and inaction (ignoring M&A takeovers). Chen says, “You can fall out of grace very quickly in high-tech, and also come back. Witness, 1997 Apple.” The firm is staging a comeback, but this time, it wants IBM’s spot in the tech space.
BlackBerry wants to be like IBM
John Chen says his firm is wants to be like IBM as it moves to license some 44,000 patents. The deal with CISCO was the first of such deals and Chen believes that many more deals are in the works even though the firm has “no plans to “be a troll.” However, in one breath John Chen has revealed his game plan to supplant IBM.
To start with, BlackBerry , is serious about its software push and the firm has hired a former Cisco executive to handle global sales. Carl Wiese will surely bring in valuable skills and ideas on how to position BlackBerry as a software firm.
Secondly, BlackBerry has bought WatchDox (a startup that provides enterprise file-sharing solutions across multiple devices). John Chen has said after the WatchDox purchase that it “represents another key step forward as we transition BlackBerry into the premier platform for secure mobile communications software and applications.”
The WatchDox deal looks like a harmless move by a firm that wants to survive. However, it is a direct affront on IBM who entered the cloud security space when it bought Softlayer Tech in 2013. Blackberry is entering the market in order to turn itself into one of the leaders in mobile software for enterprise.
A good enough reason to supplant IBM
BlackBerry , has a good enough reason to contend with IBM for the top spot in cloud security. Gartner reports that “worldwide consumer digital storage needs will grow from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016.”
The huge jump in cloud storage needs provides an even bigger market for players with proven security platforms. John Chen has repeatedly warned stakeholders to be careful of “those that talk the security talk”. BlackBerry is still the top dog in enterprise security and its “emulation” of IBM might just propel into top spot in cloud security.