Respected analyst firm Gartner is set to recommend that all BlackBerry enterprise customers find alternatives to the struggling vendor's smartphones and enterprise management software over the next six months.
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On Monday, BlackBerry had announced plans to sell the company to Fairfax Financial Holdings of Toronto for $4.7 billion. That came just days after BlackBerry disclosed plans to lay off some 4,500 of its 12,500 workers.
"Gartner recommends that our [BlackBerry enterprise] clients take no more than six months to consider and implement alternatives to BlackBerry," said Gartner analyst Bill Menezes today. "We're emphasizing that all clients should immediately ensure they have backup mobile data management plans and are at least testing alternative devices to BlackBerry."
Menezes said a full Gartner report with three recommended courses of action will be delivered soon to Gartner clients that use BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers and/or BlackBerry smartphones.
Menezes noted that while he and Gartner are clearly foretelling BlackBerry's demise, "BlackBerry isn't going to disappear overnight and there's probably a six-month window to consider and then implement alternatives."
Many large companies, including some U.S. government agencies, have already replaced BlackBerry devices with Apple iPhones and iPads or Android smartphones. The trend of moving away from BlackBerry smartphones, under way for some four years, has increased steadily in the last year.
Although BlackBerry toay indicated in its second quarter results an uptick of organizations installing or testing the latest BES 10 servers, analysts have noted a large number of organizations are also abandoning earlier versions of BlackBerry management software.
More than a dozen established software companies now offer alternative mobile device management and mobile application management software, and many clients already have one or more such tools installed.
In a statement, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said there is "increasing penetration of BES 10," with more than 25,000 actual or test servers installed, up from 19,000 in July. BlackBerry has devised a way for BES 10 to work with iOS and Android device management, partly as a way to hold onto enterprise customers who have relied on BlackBerry smartphones and BES for years when the company used the software as a gateway to BlackBerry's global, secure network. But the BES 10 server does not work with older BlackBerry models, which require that enterprises continue to run the separate BES 7 server.