Citrix Offers More Evidence Of BlackBerry Enterprise Decline

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe’s Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Businesses are moving away from BlackBerry, according to Citrix and its customers

Citrix and its customers have claimed businesses are ceasing to invest in BlackBerry devices or servers, as RIM’s once strong grip on the enterprise market continues to fade.

RIM has been going through a protracted rough patch, in which it has seen declining sales and uninspiring figures for its PlayBook tablet. It now has just five percent of the mobile OS market. Some have speculated it will be acquired, or could even fold completely.

But the company has continued to remain bullish as it builds up to the release of BlackBerry 10, saying it would be focusing more on the enterprise space where it has traditionally done well. Yet that business may be in trouble as well.

Citrix and BlackBerry still buddies?

Citrix will now be more of a rival to RIM, now that both have launched mobile device management products. RIM introduced its Mobile Fusion offering earlier this year, which runs off of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), whilst Citrix’s CloudGateway and MDX technologies provide management capabilities and wrap containers around apps to separate work and play software for security reasons.

Chris Fleck, VP of mobile solutions at Citrix, told TechWeekEurope at the Citrix Synergy conference this week that he was seeing a significant number of customers either ditching or stopping development of their BES deployments.

“A lot of our customers are talking about how they are not growing their BES servers. Some of them are getting rid of them, others are just looking for solutions for iOS and Android.

“At one point [BlackBerry] was an icon if you were a manager, sales guy on the go… now it’s like a bit of a stigma. But BlackBerry is a good partner, so I don’t want to diss them at all.”

Citrix can run Windows apps on BlackBerry devices, with its Receiver software.

Customers are really hungry for mobile device management that can cover iOS and Android, Fleck said, adding that Windows Phone, from major Citrix partner Microsoft, had not taken off yet.

Customers say they have seen a decline in the prevalence of BlackBerrys in business too. “I think our BlackBerry environment is getting smaller. There’s a die hard group that is still there, but it’s not growing,” said Ronan Murray, infrastructure manager at LeasePlan Information Services.

Gavin Walker, chief information officer at UK air traffic control service provider NATS, told TechWeekEurope his company still ran a BES but it wasn’t used for mobile device management. Instead, it is being used as a useful disaster recovery server for email.

“It’s been quite handy if we’ve had an email service failure, where BES has kept working,” Walker said.

Yet looking at the wider community, Walker said he’d seen people staying away from RIM services. “People don’t see a [BlackBerry] road map anymore so they’re just not going anywhere near it.”

BlackBerry, whilst it did not provide any figures on new customers for BES, said it had seen good take up in businesses and Mobile Fusion had been a success. It noted that in the last quarter in the UK, a roll-out of 1,500 BlackBerry devices to frontline officers at South Yorkshire Police was completed.

“Our enterprise business is in good health. We are still the only vendor to offer a complete, end-to-end enterprise mobility solution. That is compelling to customers and the reason why we count 95 percent of FTSE 100 companies as customers.

“We recognise that the mobile world is changing quickly and that’s why we’re committed to changing with it and, more importantly, helping our customers to change. We’re seeing strong sales of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, our Multiple Device Management solution, as organisations look to us as their tried and tested enterprise mobility partner to help them to manage Bring Your Own Device.

“While BlackBerry Balance offers the only workable solution to maintaining personal and corporate spaces on devices without compromising the user experience, existing customers are deploying it and it will be a key feature of our new BlackBerry 10 devices when they launch early next year.”

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