BlackBerry is opening up its BlackBerry 10 platform to enable third-party tools to directly manage devices running the software, with AirWatch, Citrix and IBM lining up to offer support.
The troubled smartphone maker said it was making the move in order to provide organisations with more options for heterogeneous mobile environments by enabling other mobile device management (MDM) vendors to hook into and manage BlackBerry 10 devices.
In a blog post about the announcement, BlackBerry president of enterprise services John Sims explained the firm no longer saw mobile management as its key differentiator, and needed to work with enterprise partners to deliver the support customers were looking for.
"MDM has become table stakes; it is no longer a meaningful point of differentiation. The differentiation for BlackBerry in the future will be our ability to enable secure, productive mobile communications, collaboration and other applications," he said.
However, Sims, who was previously president of mobile services at SAP, also insisted that BlackBerry intended to remain the leader for enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions, with the latest version of its cross-platform management tool BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 due for release later this year.
"Nothing is more secure than a BlackBerry device managed by a BlackBerry server, because we secure end-to-end from the device, server and network level," he said.
As well as Sims' former employer SAP, the first vendors lining up to include BlackBerry 10 support in their platforms are Citrix, IBM and AirWatch, now part of VMware.
"At Citrix, our vision is to deliver mobile workspaces to users anywhere, any time and on any device. As an industry EMM leader, Citrix XenMobile extends support to all enterprise devices. We have long supported BlackBerry OS devices, and the new BlackBerry 10 APIs create exciting possibilities," said Citrix's Chris Fleck, vice president of mobility solutions & alliances, in a statement.
The move comes as part of a turnaround strategy at BlackBerry led by new CEO John Chen, who seems determined to try new methods to get the company back on the right track, including selling its real estate and ditching disloyal partners.
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