It is of no surprise that Cisco WebEx has decided to cut off BlackBerry from their popular online collaboration platform. In an email sent out by Cisco today, WebEx stated:
We appreciate and support the diversity of mobile platforms in the enterprise, and our strategy has been to enable all mobile users with WebEx meetings. However, our strategy going forward is to focus our efforts on mobile platforms that represent most of the market.
Due to the decline of BlackBerry’s market share to less than 1 percent, we are announcing end-of-support and sales of the WebEx Meetings for BlackBerry app, effective January 4th, 2017. This includes BlackBerry 10 OS.
By January 4, 2017, we will:
• Remove our app from BlackBerry World and other distribution spaces
• Discontinue technical support and help page support
• Allow existing BlackBerry app users to access WebEx meetings until the end-of-use date
On April 4, 2017, we will:
• Completely disable BlackBerry access to WebEx meetings
We recommend you switch to Android or iOS platform to continue using WebEx from a mobile device.
Another nail in the coffin for BlackBerry, the next day after CEO John Chen announced that he refuses to give up on the company’s hardware business despite lacklustre sales of it’s first Android phone, the Priv.
What is more interesting is the move to call out End of Support for BB 10 OS; Chen stated yesterday that BlackBerry plans on releasing two mid-range Android based phones before end of Feb 2017, which is ironically the legacy smartphone maker’s year end.
Good news is that the market has forced BlackBerry’s hand to shift focus in different directions by diversifying into different segments. The changes are enabling the company to almost break even this quarter, even though revenues were below analyst estimates. Their revenues were basically FLAT, depending on how you dice it. But what people are failing to see is how BlackBerry has been reinventing itself faster than anyone else in the industry.
For example, BlackBerry Radar, which is designed to track trailer assets in the trucking industry, is a really innovative next-gen “Internet of Things” platform. The new end-to-end asset tracking system for trucking companies and private fleet operators enable customer to optimize utilization of their assets, improve on-time delivery, reduce theft, and maximize revenues each asset can yield without having to invest in further IT infrastructure.
Even though companies like Cisco WebEx a re pulling support for BlackBerry 10 OS as a platform, they have not commented on whether or not they will be pulling support for Android-powered BlackBerry devices. Considering the fact that BlackBerry PRIV has been geared at the upper echelon customer, it is clear that they were focused on driving the business from the top down (which is what they always did successfully). It would be foolish for any company to drop support for BlackBerry devices running Android OS, as the companies would be cutting out support for the highest level executives that demand only the highest security available. So although this announcement isn’t good for BB 10 OS as a platform, it’s not clear on how far companies like Cisco are going to go to sever support ties with the once dominant smartphone manufacturer.
The good news is that BlackBerry is evolving and changing from what it was always known for (handhelds) to what it was really known for: Enterprise Solutions. With their software revenue now rivalling their legacy hardware business, the company looks as though it is on a rebound from the dark days. Is it out yet? Time will tell, but it is not all doom and gloom for BlackBerry, despite what some have been preaching. They have forever changed and continue to change. As a software company, BlackBerry has nowhere but to go up… let’s hope for the best of this Canadian darling company!