Troubled RIM Launches BlackBerry Mobile Fusion

RIM today launched its mobile management product BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, as it looks to come to terms with declining market share and weak financial results.

Mobile Fusion, which was announced back in November, looks to target the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) shift by allowing IT managers to add security elements to workers’ Android, BlackBerry or Apple iOS devices.

Sign of the times

It provides IT with a single  web-based console from which they can manage app deployment (BlackBerry OS devices only), encrypt communications via the 256-bit AES encrypted BlackBerry VPN and enforce policies. There are also remote lock and wiping functions as well as group-based administration.

The BlackBerry Mobile Fusion software is delivered as a free download but will be sold on a per-device basis. Licences start at $99 per user or $4 per user per month. RIM is also offering a 60 day free trial.

RIM has come to accept its BlackBerry Enterprise Server strategy of only supporting its own devices will not bring rewards in an era where workers want to use their own devices, rather than get whatever their employer gives them.

“For businesses and government, managing a mix of mobile devices on any scale is chaotic. Organisations face pressure to allow employees to bring their own devices into the workplace, and they are looking to RIM as the global leader in the enterprise mobility space to solve that problem,” said Alan Panezic, vice president for enterprise product management and marketing at RIM.

“BlackBerry Mobile Fusion allows organisations to manage a mixed environment of devices in the most secure, simple, and cost efficient manner possible. It also means that businesses and government do not have to move to the lowest common denominator on security for all the devices they need to manage.”

The company will be going up against some stiff competition in the mobile device management (MDM) space, where vendors like Good Technology are coming on leaps and bounds. The latter has secured some solid partnerships with security giants such as RSA, increasing its reach.

RIM is attempting to refocus on the enterprise segment, whilst keeping a foothold in the consumer space. Reports had indicated RIM was leaving the consumer space altogether, but the mobile vendor was quick to quash the claims.

“Whilst we announced plans to re-focus our efforts on our core strengths, and on our enterprise customer base, we were very explicit that we will continue to build on our strengths to go after targeted consumer segments. We listed BBM, as well as the security and manageability of our platform, amongst our strengths,” said RIM’s vice president of marketing, Patrick Spence.

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Thomas Brewster

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

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