Did all those letters confuse you? That's why you come to the Ticker -- because I straighten out all the BS and turn it into straight-up English that's reasonably easy to understand.
What this means is that BlackBerry is first to actually obtain the certification required for "new generation" smartphone devices despite the bleating from others about "competitors" (who have not received same):
Waterloo, ON – BlackBerry® (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB) today announced the U.S. Defense Information System Agency (DISA) has given BlackBerry® Z10 and BlackBerry® Q10 smartphones with BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10, the Authority to Operate (ATO) on Department of Defense (DoD) networks. BlackBerry is the first Mobile Device Management (MDM) provider to obtain an ATO.
With the ATO, DISA is now developing the infrastructure to support BlackBerry 10 smartphones. DISA is architecting the capacity to support 10,000 BlackBerry 10 smartphones by this fall and 30,000 by the end of 2013 on DoD networks.
You need device management (which is both secure and has the handset portion certified as secure) before the DOD (or any other organization that gives a damn about security) should let you bring a device onto the network.
For BlackBerry BES10 is the prerequisite (the device management software) that has held back BB10 from being adopted inside the DOD. With that in hand rollout can now commence -- and the DOD and affiliated agencies is a huge market.
As I have noted "approval" of a device itself is meaningless -- you need to look at the errata sheets for the requirements that come with it. When you do that you find that the iPhone, for example, has an errata list that makes it undesirable in that it excludes the very things that make people want to use one (e.g. Apple's app store, etc.)
Since BlackBerry now has the MDM certification and the devices themselves have passed certification (and do not have any onerous requirements in the errata -- the "personal" side of the device remains unrestricted) BlackBerry now has the only available current-generation offering for DOD-connected devices.
I follow cryptographic technology pretty carefully, and there are people who believe that RSA, which underlies most of the Internet today, is potentially breakable in the next few years. This is not a "today" risk, but it is one a few years down the road.
The importance of this little ditty, if it comes to fruition, is that BlackBerry bought the company that has the solution to that problem and in fact the NSA already has recommended -- for nearly a decade -- the use of the patented encryption algorithm that this firm developed.
It's impossible to speculate on exactly how much value might be there in BlackBerry if such a compromise of RSA and Diffie-Hellman was to be proved up. It's entirely reasonable to expect that there would be multiple attempts to pierce the patents involved, but if they held up, at least until someone came up with an open-source alternative that did not infringe on those patents BlackBerry would instantly become the most-valuable information security firm in the world.
The patent issue involved here, if it comes to fruition, is (mostly) a US problem, but the US is the market that nobody can ignore.
This probably isn't tradeable, unlike the DOD certification. But it's something to keep in the back of your mind if you're one of those people who believes that BlackBerry is "doomed."
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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