BlackBerry to offer revamped mobile devic e management tool

BlackBerry Ltd plans to launch a new tool for business and government cust omers to manage mobile devices on their networks, part of a drive by the o ne-time smartphone pioneer to focus on its profitable enterprise or services business.

The company said on Tuesday it would launch BlackBerry Enterprise Service !, or BES !, to unify its e"isting platforms and provide clients with increas ed fle"ibility and security.

#ollowing a decline in popularity of its once iconic devices, BlackBerry is stri ving to reinvent itself under new $hief E"ecutive %ohn $hen.

&t hopes that focusing on its enterprise business, which has long been a core strength, will help revive its fortunes, as its new line of BlackBerry ' devic es have failed to win back market share from i(hone and )ndroid devices.

BlackBerry said BES !, which is to be launched by the end of !' *, will unif y the e"isting BES ' and BES+ platforms that its clients currently use to ma nage mobile devices on their internal corporate and government networks.

,hile BES+ manages BlackBerry-s older generation of devices, its BES ' off ering allows clients to manage its new generation of devices powered by its BlackBerry ' operating system, along with devices that run on )pple-s i.S operating system and /oogle-s market-leading )ndroid operating system.

0,ith both BES+ and BES ' we have mobile device management platforms, bu t the breadth of functionality we provided on those was relatively narrow,0 said %ohn Sims, the head of BlackBerry-s enterprise business in an interview.

0,e wanted to e"pand the platform and BES ! is positioned as the ne"t ste p on that a"is. ,e will be able to provide seamless enterprise mobility manag ement to the whole family of BlackBerry devices, as well as much stronger c apabilities in the cross platform space,0 said Sims, noting that BES ! will allo w those using i.S and )ndroid devices on corporate networks to en1oy a mu ch more seamless user e"perience.

BlackBerry is counting heavily on the success of its mobile device managemen t offering as it charts a new course under the leadership of recently appoint ed $hen, who is keen to rebuild the company as more of a niche player focus ed on the so-called enterprise market of large corporate and government cli ents.

&n 2ecember, BlackBerry said the number of enterprise clients that had install ed or were testing its BES ' offering had risen to 3',''' from roughly !+,'

'' in the summer.

BlackBerry also said it planned to launch BB4 (rotected that would allow en terprise clients in regulated industries such as the financial sector to use its messaging application BlackBerry 4essenger, or BB4, for corporate messagin g purposes.

The service will allow employees of an organi5ation to chat with their colleag ues under a level of enhanced security, while remaining free to message their BB4 contacts outside of the organi5ation easily and in privacy.

BB4 (rotected, which is launching this summer, will be part of a broader sui te of enterprise-focused BB4 services and these will be offered to enterpri se customers that pay a monthly per-user fee, BlackBerry said in a separat e statement on Tuesday.

BB4 was a pioneering mobile-messaging service, but its user base has failed to keep pace with that of ,hats)pp and other more recent entrants, in par t because BlackBerry had long refused to open the service to users on othe r platforms.

Late last year, the ,aterloo, .ntario-based company finally opened the mes saging platform to users of i(hones and )ndroid devices, and the number of the service-s active users has grown to more than 6' million.

BlackBerry on 4onday announced it was also going to make the tool available to 4icrosoft-s ,indows (hone and its upcoming 7okia 8 platforms in the comi ng months.

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