Blackberry Get Serious

September 24, 2014
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Probably nothing pisses off bosses more than having to pay overtime to an in-house accountant to sort through a morass of telephone bills. Or worse, having to hire an accounting consultant from outside the company. Yet nothing pleases them more than the way that, mutually dependent on that mobile in your pocket, you are at their beck and call 24/7/365. If only you didn’t sleep! If only you didn’t need leisure time to talk to your kids, nod at your wife, watch football, play vid games and watch movies. Well, now there’s a way to nip all that resentment in the bud without being forced to carry a box full of separate SIM cards to keep the aforementioned company accountant happy. The Emancipation Proclamation? Thanks to Blackberry, Lincoln’s little tome may soon be rendered null and void. Thanks to Blackberry, that problem will soon be over.

Blackberry Get Serious
CEO John Chen

In an attempt to reassert itself into the leadership position it held at the beginning of the millennium, former mover and shaker BlackBerry of Waterloo, Ontario, in Canada have bought into the UK start-up Movirtu, a ‘Virtual SIM’ company whose users are able to simultaneously operate multiple phone numbers and profiles on a single device, along with a number of other virtual identity solutions. It’s all part of Blackberry’s move to continue building out its portfolio of value-added services that cater to the needs of its core base of corporate and government clients. All part and parcel of the Canadian mobile-maker’s turnaround strategy of abandoning the consumer handset and concentrating exclusively on corporate customers, according to CNBC News.

Six-year-old Movirtu’s virtual SIM technology allows customers to maintain both a personal and business number on a single mobile device, allowing separate billing for voice, data and messaging usage on each number. This allows employees to switch between work and personal profiles easily without carrying multiple devices or SIM cards.

Aggressively led by its new chief executive John Chen, Blackberry have removed much of their debt from mistakes made while trying to establish itself in the consumer market, raising cash via the sale of its vast real estate holdings. Chen, already a director at Walt Disney and Wells Fargo also serves on the board of CIT Group and is a member of the New York Stock Exchange’s listing advisory committee as well as the boards of several high-tech start-ups, including, Niku Corporation, Wafer Technology and Turbolinux US. Meanwhile, the company has been making small acquisitions in the last few months. In July it purchased Secusmart, a privately held German firm that specializes in voice and data encryption, with a view toward impressing security-conscious clients like government agencies in Washington, D.C.. As the market for technologies for exclusively corporate mobile devices is expected to grow 30 per cent a year and reach $1.8bn by 2016, according to research by technology group IDC, Chen is definitely making some savvy moves.

For Blackberry, the Movirtu acquisition allows them to participate in the trend toward more adaptable employees willing to expand their personal and work lives through tablets and smartphones. Consequently, workers want equally adaptable practical business software that is just as intuitive as the apps and games they already use.

Finally, according to BlackBerry, deals are already in place that will support deployment of Movirtu technology by the operators of all of the major smartphone operating systems including Android and iOS. Only Windows has chosen not to cooperate, according to TNW.

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