Boeing is telling employees that it’s sticking with BlackBerry as its “standard mobile platform” after receiving assurances from BlackBerry executives about the smartphone maker’s dedication to providing a “secure, private environment” for business.
However, as a contingency, the aerospace giant is also accelerating its certification of Android devices as a potential alternative.
It’s one example of the broader dilemma facing BlackBerry’s corporate customers right now, as the Canadian company grapples with declining market share and an uncertain fate. BlackBerry recently reached a preliminary deal with one of its largest shareholders to go private, but a report by Reuters on Monday said Google, SAP and Cisco are talking with BlackBerry about alternative deals to buy all or part of the company.
Stephen Bates, who leads BlackBerry’s enterprise business, addressed the issue of customer concerns during a Gartner conference in Orlando on Monday. “A lot of people trust the BlackBerry platform. I believe the future is bright and BlackBerry is here to stay,” he said, according to ZDNet.
However, a Gartner analyst, Ken Dulaney, recently advised BlackBerry corporate customer to develop contingency plans.
“All clients should immediately ensure that they have backup mobile data management plans and are at least testing alternative devices,” he wrote, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Clients have three to six months to build a strategy.”
The news site 9to5Google, which first reported on the internal Boeing memo, said slightly less than 41,000 of the aerospace company’s employees use BlackBerry smartphones.
The Boeing memo explained, “Last week, BlackBerry executives assured Boeing representatives that the restructuring of their business plan will keep the focus on the enterprise and professional users, as well as what differentiates the firm from its competitors: a secure, private environment in which customers can conduct their business.”
It continued, “In the unlikely event a service interruption occurs, equivalent alternatives are available. Although Boeing representatives do not feel it will become necessary, certification of alternate hardware and software options (e.g., Android platform) is being accelerated. Early estimations predict that re-provisioning every Blackberry user to a new device could take approximately two months. At this time, BlackBerry continues to be supported and remains the Boeing standard mobile platform.”
Last year Boeing said it was developing its own Android-based device for the U.S. government defense and security market.