BlackBerry nets huge win as it thinks about going private

Multiple sources have told CDN that Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins along with his top lieutenants are mulling over a plan to take the former Research in Motion private.

By going private, the smartphone maker follows the same path that Dell Inc. is taking currently. However, the going private route is fraught with risk; Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell is battling it out with Silver Lake Partners, a private equity firm that funding other high tech vendors such as Avaya and Seagate Technology.

But, by going private BlackBerry can internalize more and make the necessary adjustments to their product line and business model without any outside scrutiny from shareholders. Basically it bides them time in their recovery plan.

Just the mere possibility of going private resulted in BlackBerry shares rising more than four per cent. The company has had an up-and-down year so far. The launch of BlackBerry 10 with devices such as the Z10 and the Q10 were met with plenty of optimism earlier this year.

However, lately the momentum has slowed and BlackBerry is losing subscribers and has also seen some top executives bolt the company.

It hasn’t been all bad for BlackBerry. The company was awarded the authority to operate on U.S. Department of Defense Networks. This is a major win for BlackBerry as the U.S. Defense Information System Agency (DISA) has given BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 smartphones with Enterprise Service 10 the authority to operate DoD networks. Sources have told CDN that this was hotly contested by other smartphone manufacturers and BlackBerry will be the Mobile Device Management (MDM) provider to obtain this kind of DOD authorization.

With this in BlackBerry’s pocket, DISA has started to develop the infrastructure to support BlackBerry 10 smartphones. DISA is architecting the capacity to support 10,000 BlackBerry 10 smartphones by this fall and 30,000 by the end of 2013 on DoD networks.

Scott Totzke, senior vice president of BlackBerry’s Security Group, said being the first smartphones to be supported on U.S. Department of Defense networks further establishes BlackBerry’s proven and validated security model. With foreign entities – governmental and criminal – ramping up attacks on electronic communications and information systems, BlackBerry provides government agencies with a proven partner that follows top-to-bottom security protocols.

According to BlackBerry, receiving the DOD authorization is a critical step forward in the security certification process. The approval demonstrates that BlackBerry 10 smartphones meet DOD’s most stringent security requirements. BlackBerry 10 smartphones will enable DOD personnel to have the ability to securely connect to networks and access assets from work.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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