Seeking Alpha

BlackBerry buying German security tech developer

  • BlackBerry (BBRY -0.7%) is acquiring  Secusmart, a German developer of mobile encryption and anti-eavesdropping tech. Terms are undisclosed.
  • Secusmart already offers a mobile security platform (called SecuSUITE) for BB10. Its solution relies heavily on a secure microSD card with a built-in encryption co-processor and crypto-controller.
  • BlackBerry notes the companies have partnered to provide "Secusmart-equipped BlackBerry smartphones to a significant number of German government agencies and almost all German government ministries and leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel."
  • The purchase comes amid an uproar in Germany over NSA spying activity, one that has even led the country's NSA inquiry chief to suggest using typewriters to avoid eavesdropping. Yesterday, the German government was reported to be interested in buying 20K more BB10 phones for security reasons.
  • BlackBerry also sees opportunities to bring Secusmart's offerings to other markets. John Chen has shown an interest in carving out niches for BB10 phones in enterprise/government verticals with special requirements.
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Comments (29)
  • farmwersteve
    , contributor
    Comments (326) | Send Message
     
    Hmmm. In other BlackBerry seeking alpha news yesterday regarding the possible purchase of 20,000 more BlackBerry devices by the German government, the bears downplayed it as being no big deal since secusmart would be the company making the really big bucks and BlackBerry would simply sell a few devices
    ...

     

    And now what are those bears going to say?
    29 Jul, 10:51 AM Reply Like
  • Cageyone
    , contributor
    Comments (165) | Send Message
     
    I expect we'll hear more about last quarter's ER and BB's declining handset market share world wide!
    29 Jul, 11:18 AM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (1861) | Send Message
     
    Lol, declining device market share World Wide? And you have proof of this?

     

    You do recall BBRY increased its device market share by 6%. The trend suggests it's actually improving.
    29 Jul, 12:39 PM Reply Like
  • Cageyone
    , contributor
    Comments (165) | Send Message
     
    I was being sarcastic - since our regular bears consistently ignore this increase!
    29 Jul, 01:21 PM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (1861) | Send Message
     
    Lol. Got you.
    29 Jul, 01:43 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    , BBRY PRO Alerts subscriber
    Comments (9350) | Send Message
     
    @farmersteve

     

    "And now what are those bears going to say?"

     

    Thank you for asking.

     

    I think the Secusmart acquisition makes a good story, but it's less than practical.

     

    For the Secusmart enabled BlackBerry to prevent eavesdropping, it's going to have to be communicating to another Secusmart enabled BlackBerry.

     

    Now, this pretty much kills it in the consumer space and instead relegates to the very same niche that was there before the acquisition.

     

    The bottom line is that anyone that wanted an anti eavesdropping BlackBerry already had one with the Secusmart add on.
    Buying the company was just a waste of money.
    30 Jul, 11:24 PM Reply Like
  • Crispin_in_Waterloo
    , contributor
    Comments (1233) | Send Message
     
    @Knowit
    "For the Secusmart enabled BlackBerry to prevent eavesdropping, it's going to have to be communicating to another Secusmart enabled BlackBerry."

     

    Well there is the alternative of having the Securesmart hardware builting into the device. Yes it is limited to Blackberry-2-Blackberry, but that is hardly a disadvantage, is it. MDM users who want secure communication between employees will just do what they did before: hand everyone a BB. For the others, they will have to use an SD card just as SecureSmart clients do now.

     

    If the 'others' want to build in the facility, they will have to licence it from BBRY. Another revenue stream...
    31 Jul, 11:19 AM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    , BBRY PRO Alerts subscriber
    Comments (9350) | Send Message
     
    Hi Crispin,

     

    I don't believe iOS smartphones have SD card slots, so that cuts Apple products out of the loop. But yeah, the rest of what you say is correct as long as A) the device has an SD card slot, and B) whatever drivers / apps / support for the device is there.

     

    When I looked at Secusmart maybe a year ago, I thought I saw support for Android. I guess the question then becomes: Will BlackBerry support other platforms to enable encrypted voice communications between say an Android phone and another Android phone without going though any BlackBerry servers.
    31 Jul, 02:24 PM Reply Like
  • Shaduc
    , contributor
    Comments (1373) | Send Message
     
    "iOS smartphones have SD card slots, so that cuts Apple product"

     

    Can there be other devices integrated through the lightning/30-pin since that is a USB connection for other devices?
    31 Jul, 07:58 PM Reply Like
  • Tíotán
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Increasing security = A good move by BlackBerry!
    29 Jul, 10:53 AM Reply Like
  • JAMES CARLINI
    , contributor
    Comments (4145) | Send Message
     
    This should be a WAKE-UP call. If they are buying a company focused on mobile security - it will strengthen BBRY in an area that is HUGE when it comes to Enterprise-wide networks and corporate security.

     

    If people are looking for that "BIG" announcement, this would be one that would rank up there.

     

    On the surface -- Strengthening their position on "security" as a major feature can only enhance BBRY's position and surely anchors it from being "washed away by the big IBM/Apple announcement that was a great announcement - but still does not have any real apps OR - more importantly - real reference-able accounts using those apps.
    29 Jul, 10:55 AM Reply Like
  • Crispin_in_Waterloo
    , contributor
    Comments (1233) | Send Message
     
    I thought this company presented the most serious challenge to BBRY's MDM security dominance. Selling the auto-entertainment platform team and buying this specialized company is on of the smartest things that happened this year. Brilliant move.

     

    We should not be surprised to see the emergence of a Canadian-German solution to the pervasive spying and logging built into virtually all mobile devices.
    29 Jul, 11:02 AM Reply Like
  • Zack 800
    , contributor
    Comments (1001) | Send Message
     
    Wonder is SGP Technologies, maker of the blackphone, feels threatened now...
    29 Jul, 11:09 AM Reply Like
  • gffdss
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
     
    For God's sake, BlackBerry did NOT sell their automotive platform (i.e. QNX) or the "team" behind it. They sold a related research facility to VWAG. When is that myth finally going to die? Otherwise, agree with your post. Secusmart acquisition is a major coup.
    29 Jul, 11:19 AM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (1861) | Send Message
     
    Blackphone never stood a chance against BBRY, regardless of this purchase.
    29 Jul, 12:41 PM Reply Like
  • john001
    , contributor
    Comments (720) | Send Message
     
    so...why is the share price down today, July 29th
    29 Jul, 01:08 PM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (1861) | Send Message
     
    It's down, so we can all load up again.
    29 Jul, 01:44 PM Reply Like
  • john001
    , contributor
    Comments (720) | Send Message
     
    its down 3.6% so buy to your heats content. I wonder if there is any truth to the old saying "a fool and his money are soon parted".
    29 Jul, 03:20 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    , BBRY PRO Alerts subscriber
    Comments (9350) | Send Message
     
    @Crispin,

     

    "I thought this company presented the most serious challenge to BBRY's MDM security dominance."

     

    Crispin, Secusmart has nothing to do with MDM. It's a voice encryption chip that modifies the phone behavior directly.

     

    And for what's it's worth, this Secusmart enabled BlackBerry costs a hefty $2,770 USD. http://bit.ly/1gPPEIX
    30 Jul, 11:32 PM Reply Like
  • Crispin_in_Waterloo
    , contributor
    Comments (1233) | Send Message
     
    So you got my point that it represents a threat in terms of secure communication, enabling a device to be secured (but as secure?) when being managed.

     

    Just to extend your pedantic quibble, MDM is not about security, it is about management. Security is something else. SecureSmart was a direct threat to BBRY's EEC technology and 'that which waits in the corridors at head office'. Combining MDM with communication security is what BES was all about in the first place. Now, it will be much harder for an MEM competitor to use SecureSmart technology to compete with BES12.
    31 Jul, 11:27 AM Reply Like
  • dannyyoung56
    , contributor
    Comments (29) | Send Message
     
    Chen: your move, Tim *with that all knowing smirk on his face*
    29 Jul, 11:15 AM Reply Like
  • ELLAS
    , contributor
    Comments (1861) | Send Message
     
    BlackBerry has more security certifications than any other vendor and is the only mobility solution to receive "Full Operational Capability" (NASDAQ:FOC) approval to run on U.S. Department of Defense networks.

     

    And that's that.
    29 Jul, 01:44 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    , BBRY PRO Alerts subscriber
    Comments (9350) | Send Message
     
    Hey ELLAS,

     

    IBM's MDM MaaS360 is the First to Receive Federal Government Authority to Operate Mobile Device Management http://bit.ly/1r45rK4

     

    And that's that.
    30 Jul, 11:36 PM Reply Like
  • Crispin_in_Waterloo
    , contributor
    Comments (1233) | Send Message
     
    That's right. I checked. And here

     

    http://bit.ly/1qNrnxo is the plan to offer , or develop and then offer, the Healthcare equivalent of what BBRY is rolling out with the Passport.

     

    It is rumoured that iOS8 will have the same built-in backdoor services and wireless off-loading capability of unencrypted data that all the other iOS devices have, but with better hacking resistance for those not in government. I feel healthier already...
    31 Jul, 11:37 AM Reply Like
  • benzberry
    , contributor
    Comments (179) | Send Message
     
    Hopefully the bears pile it in even more.

     

    If the news continue in this vein, and the next quarter results and the response to Passport is good, there'll be a lot of toasted bears. The short interest will also help in getting a bigger spike in price. And more burnt bears.

     

    Go bears!
    29 Jul, 01:51 PM Reply Like
  • rstran
    , contributor
    Comments (87) | Send Message
     
    down 5%, not a good thing
    29 Jul, 04:01 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Bryant
    , contributor
    Comments (5618) | Send Message
     
    Whole market went down.
    29 Jul, 09:09 PM Reply Like
  • cutthroat
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    connected vehicle architecture and service decisions are key in the next few years.
    Hook up with SIRI - LMCA and get busy! Canada and US will thank you.
    29 Jul, 04:06 PM Reply Like
  • hz06
    , contributor
    Comments (891) | Send Message
     
    this is one of the best news since John Chen takes over blackberry. second to Foxconn partnership.

     

    think about if someone else gets Secusmart and grows this seed company into a tree, blackberry will face real competition in its stranglehold.

     

    John Chen is the man. Congratulations Mr. Chen!
    29 Jul, 11:08 PM Reply Like
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