Can BlackBerry Survive the Smartphone Wars?


blackberry-10Just when analysts were wondering if the BlackBerry would survive in an Android-vs.-iPhone world, the company stunned the stock universe by announcing a profit of $98 million in its fourth quarter. That profit, which came in at $0.19 a share, was welcome news in a fiscal year that saw more than a $646 million net loss.

Some experts pointed to BlackBerry’s release of a new touchscreen phone, the Q10. BlackBerry fans were said to be eagerly awaiting the release of the phone, which also featured the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The larger screen and touchscreen functionality provide navigability similar to the BlackBerry’s rivals.

While other phones are beginning to increase in use in the corporate world, the BlackBerry still provides a simple, straightforward interface. For employers interested in keeping employees focused on checking e-mail without the distraction of apps and gadgets, the BlackBerry may continue to do well.

iPhone gaining ground in workplace

Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone has become a formidable opponent of the BlackBerry in recent years. At one time, iOS devices were relegated to consumer use, not considered ideal for the workplace. But as many companies consider “bring your own device” policies, iPhones are becoming more prevalent in office environments.

Apple’s profits, as usual, were up. In the same Q4 period, Apple earned $36 billion. It’s important to note that this was immediately following the release of the much-anticipated iPhone 5, and results were actually slightly lower than what Wall Street experts were expecting.

Today, Apple is beginning to show up in the workplace, thanks to the company’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) functionality. MDM is specifically designed for the workplace, allowing server administrators to securely deploy iPhones and iPads.

Android Gaining Ground

Android-based devices like Samsung’s (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) line of Galaxy tablets and smartphones are also gaining ground in the workplace environment, due in part to ease of use. Samsung for Enterprise (SAFE) emphasizes security, with 256-bit encryption.

The company, powered by Google’s Android operating system, is giving both Apple and Microsoft a run for their money, pulling in $8.3 billion in the last quarter of 2012. As sales approach 500 handsets per minute, Samsung keeps its edge by manufacturing a large chunk of its own parts in-house. This keeps the money inside the company and strengthens profits.

But BlackBerry has made another smart move as competitors began edging their way into the corporate marketplace. The company’s BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 can accommodate iPhones and Samsung phones, helping along the BYOD trend that is hitting workplaces everywhere.

Since more than 60% of employees are said to use their own devices in the workplace in at least some form, employers are realizing the importance of securing a wide variety of devices on the same network. The company is even offering a free 60-day trial to encourage workplaces to try it out.

The corporate smartphone war wages on, but one thing is clear: there likely won’t be a clear winner. However, BlackBerry is no longer the go-to solution for corporations interested in rolling out one single smartphone company-wide. As tablets and smartphones become more a part of every workplace, businesses are realizing the idea of a one-size-fits-all solution is a concept of the past.

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