BlackBerry Places $425M Bet on Mobile Security

The acquisition of Good Technology continues BlackBerry's shift away from smartphones to enterprise mobile security solutions.
Matthew HellerSeptember 8, 2015

BlackBerry has taken another step toward offering an enterprise mobile security solution across all platforms, announcing it has acquired Good Technology for $425 million.

Amid a dramatic drop in its smartphone business, BlackBerry has been betting on increased sales of software to secure and manage devices on corporate networks. According to The Wall Street Journal, the planned purchase of Good is by far the largest of five acquisitions the Canadian company has made over the past year to boost growth in enterprise mobile security.

“By acquiring Good, BlackBerry will better solve one of the biggest struggles for CIOs today, especially those in regulated industries: securely managing devices across any platform,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a news release. “By providing even stronger cross-platform capabilities our customers will not have to compromise on their choice of operating systems, deployment models or any level of privacy and security.”

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Good has expertise in multi-OS management, with 64% of its activations from iOS devices. It also has a broad Android and Windows customer base.

“This experience combined with BlackBerry’s strength in BlackBerry 10 and Android management — including Samsung KNOX-enabled devices — will provide customers with increased choice for securely deploying any leading operating system in their organization,” BlackBerry said.

BlackBerry’s competitors in device management include Citrix Systems, MobileIron and VMware’s AirWatch. As part of its enterprise mobile security strategy, it bought German voice encryption firm Secusmart last year and WatchDox, an enterprise file security company, in April.

The company introduced the latest version of its mobile device management software, dubbed BES12, in November, but, according to the WSJ, analysts have questioned demand for the product after BlackBerry surprised the market in its fiscal first quarter ended May 30 by including revenue from technology licensing as part of total software sales.

“That move raised concerns about overall sales of BES12,” the Journal noted.

For Good, the sale aborts a planned initial public offering. Since it filed to go public in May 2014, it has reported a string of operating losses.

“These are both embattled firms that are trying to stay relevant in this day and age of mobile management,” an industry insider told TechCrunch.