BlackBerry vs. Blackphone: A Rivalry Is Born Online

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) and Blackphone are in a virtual war of the words since BlackBerry posted a blog post about comparing the new Blackphone to BlackBerry’s products. It’s not a surprise which company BlackBerry deemed superior. In response, Blackphone’s CEO Toby Weir-Jones wrote a post on Medium that mirrors BlackBerry’s, extolling Blackphone’s product at the expense of BlackBerry, mentioning BlackBerry’s dealings with foreign governments and pointing out BlackBerry’s financial troubles.

The core issue in the argument is which product is more secure — one way to appeal to customers cautious of smartphones’ security flaws. BlackBerry is the brand most identified with the concept of a secured smartphone. Blackphone’s Weir-Jones concedes this point his post. He continues by praising the BlackBerry of yesteryear.

“They were revolutionary products. I personally owned an even older device  —  a 957  —  and used several of its descendants over the years. Nowadays, the only thing sustaining them is the inertia of their remaining enterprise and government customers, but that too will eventually come to rest while we and others continue to win over those accounts.”

Weir-Jones’ company SGP Technologies is a joint venture between Silent Circle, a company specializing in privacy communications, and Geeksphone, a company specializing in hardware. The Blackphone, a $629 Android smartphone with extra security built in, is the first product available to customers from this new company. So far it has received a positive review from Ars Technica, who praised the smartphone, even if the publication did dub it “the Android for the paranoid.” Despite its price, the new smartphone has been selling well. Cue BlackBerry’s post.

Joe McGarvey, an Enterprise Mobility Strategist at BlackBerry, wrote BlackBerry’s post. He wrote that the Blackphone’s approach to security is not enough to actually ensure that the smartphone is secure.

“As this review points out, the Blackphone was designed chiefly for consumers. The product’s target market sweet spot appears to be individuals — not necessarily affiliated with an enterprise — requiring eavesdrop-proof communications.”

The post continues comparing the Blackphone to BlackBerry’s system and products, coming to the conclusion that BlackBerry’s products are better and more secure. This is what many media agencies are framing as the first shot between the two. Weir-Jones’ post on Medium a day later is the response. He affirms the security of the Blackphone by pointing out its peer-to-peer network, also known as a mesh network, are harder to hack. His primary shot at Blackberry is about how the company would work with governments to retrieve supposedly private information.

“Unfortunately, the world discovered in 2010 that RIM was willing to compromise its integrity if sufficient pressure was applied by governments intent on spying on the messages sent via the ubiquitous devices.”

Weir-Jones also mentioned BlackBerry’s business decline over the past few years. What is happening here is an online spat between two smartphone companies specializing in secure smartphones. It’s the old school Blackberry versus the newer Blackphone. Each side is saying their product is better.

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