Reports that Samsung Electronics has approached BlackBerry briefly sent the battered smartphone maker’s stock soaring. Any deal is definately not done and BlackBerry denied it, however the possibility does improve the question: Why would Samsung desire to acquire BlackBerry? Yes, the Korean conglomerate would get yourself a robust suite of patents, BlackBerry’s powerful (though unloved) new mobile platform, and a brief history of highly lauded hardware design. Still, there’s really only 1 reason the Canadian phonemaker is of interest to Samsung at this time: security. And security may be the gateway to the highly valuable enterprise market.
Samsung has recently declared its long-term intentions to enter-and win-the business market for mobile tech. The business has been aggressively advertising (and pushing) its mobile security platform, called KNOX. The only real problem is that Samsung devices operate on Google’s Android operating-system, that includes a storied and rather dark history with regards to security. So regardless of how hard the business may push its security message, it may be struggling to sneak out of Google’s long shadow.
Buying BlackBerry, alongside its portfolio of patents and soft-touch leatheresque phone backs, however, changes the equation. When there is one area where in fact the BlackBerry has been relatively unassailable, it’s the security of its devices. Hey, even Obama runs on the BlackBerry.
While Apple has made significant inroads in the enterprise market with the iPhone and iPad, Android devices have already been a member of family laggard. And also Apple hasn’t escaped the casual security scandal (start to see the 2014 celebrity iCloud photo debacle or BuzzFeed tech editor Mat Honan’s terrible experience as a result of hackers). Bringing BlackBerry in to the Samsung family would confer an undeniable aura of security on the business’s devices. Even Apple can’t declare that right now.
The real losers here may be Google and Microsoft. The more standalone software components Samsung acquires-that aren’t core bits of the Android platform-the further Google gets from its biggest market partner (see Samsung’s recent moves to introduce its Tizen mobile OS). And Microsoft, once dominant available market, has been beaten at its game by Google’s suite of low-cost Web apps and completely struggling to look for a foothold in the wonderful world of mobile at all.