Over the last few weeks we have heard Tim Cook claim time and again that ‘only Apple’ can combine software, services and devices into a simple, seamless ecosystem. There is a wonderful blog by John Gruber that highlights this issue and really brings some well-thought out details to it.
We find ourselves agreeing with John on a lot of this. Yes, Google is also doing a great job of ‘owning an ecosystem’ and now Microsoft also has it’s own (Windows, Nokia, Skype, App store, etc.). Samsung, cloud companies, Cisco, HP, Dell and all the others simply are just throwing stuff against the wall and hoping 10% sticks.
Amazon can certainly be argued for in creating an ecosystem, albeit from a different category (Fire Devices, shopping, entertainment, media consumption). However, they have a very narrow focus that is not meant for enterprise, non-media functions and lacking in any real hardware for the mobile space. It is an ecosystem but not in the true sense.
Our approach is similar to Apple and Google’s, but with a very different focus. We are building out an ecosystem of software, services and hardware, focused on ideals that these companies cannot compete against. While any of them could build this out—technically—no one would buy it.
I am talking about an ecosystem built around Privacy, Control and Security. Not built around the massive vacuuming of user data. Not built around the all-mighty advertising dollar or movies, songs and cloud storage. Yes, companies will add ‘privacy products’ to their offering, but they can never create an ecosystem built from the ground up to be private by design. And neither would they want to—it’s simply counter to their business models.
Our approach is not to build and sell 100 million phones. Our approach is not to give everything away for free and use your personal data to monetize in some other fashion. We charge you for our software, services and devices and in return, we don’t have, cannot get to, nor want your data.
At present, we count over 30 of the Global Fortune 50 as enterprise customers who purchase our Blackphone, Apps, Calling plans and management console to help secure communications and mobile productivity. For consumers, the 10-15% of the world who cares about privacy – they buy our products to gain control of their personal data, their communications, their mobile footprint and reduce costs with our global calling plans. Our job is to build out our ecosystem to secure more of the daily digital activity of both enterprise and consumers. Stand by as we launch 6 new products in the next 6 months—all to expand our platform.
One of the top questions I seem to always get from the media is “can you realistically compete with Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Amazon, etc. as a system?” The short answer is, we don’t have to. Why? Well people don’t use Skype because they want to have a secure video chat. Companies don’t buy a Samsung phone to secure their enterprise or intellectual property. They don’t store all of their naughty personal pictures in iCloud because it’s so secure. Nor do they use Google Play services because they feel it’s preserving their privacy. They use these products because there are no secure or private alternatives that are of the same quality—yet. With partners like Disconnect.me and Spideroak we are partnering to provide secure and private alternatives to the ‘free’ services these ecosystem giants prey upon.
As we roll into fall/winter, we continue to replace Blackberry in the enterprise at a staggering pace. We are having a hard time manufacturing enough devices to keep up with sales into global enterprises that are getting rid of BES servers behind the firewall and non IOS/Android platforms. We almost never encounter Microsoft mobile devices, they just don’t have a home in enterprise at this point. At the same time, just about every enterprise counts on Good, Mobile Iron, Mass360 or Airwatch to try and control the loose bag of androids in their company. It seems that Samsung, Lenovo, Sony, etc. are making their devices less secure and adding even more “bloatware” that siphons off user data—not moving to more security.
So, yes—Apple has a dominant ecosystem, but when we continually hear ‘only Apple can do this’ or ‘you guys are too small to compete with the giants,’ well, we beg to differ.