(Adds details on approval, background, share price)
By Euan Rocha
TORONTO Aug 6 BlackBerry Ltd
said on Wednesday its Android and iOS device-management service
has won a key security clearance from the U.S. Defense
Information Systems Agency (DISA).
The company said the DISA clearance will allow its customers
in various U.S. Department of Defense agencies to begin to use
its BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10 system to manage and
secure devices powered by Google Inc's Android
operating system and Apple Inc's iOS software.
BlackBerry launched the service to manage rival devices on
its BES system a year ago, as part of a move to help it sell
high-margin services to its large clients even if many, or all,
their workers use smartphones made by competitors.
The new feature, dubbed Secure Work Space, is managed
through BES 10, a new back-end system launched at the start of
2013 that allows BlackBerry's clients to control mobile devices
on their internal networks.
The decision to service non-BlackBerry devices is part of
the company's move to reinvent itself as its own devices have
waned in popularity.
BlackBerry intends to remain a competitor in the smartphone
business, but it is also pivoting to build on core strengths in
areas like mobile data security and mobile device management, as
part of a move to boost revenues and return to profitability.
BlackBerry said the Security Technical Implementation Guide
approval, or STIG approval, from DISA provides further
confidence for those government agencies considering a more open
mobile environment, as it secures data both while in-transit and
on the devices.
"The STIG approval for Secure Work Space for iOS and Android
is another validation that enterprises and government agencies
can rely on BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 for secure mobility
- no matter which devices they have in the field," John Sims,
the head of BlackBerry's enterprise arm, said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Defense, a long-time stronghold for
BlackBerry, has over the course of the last year begun to test
and use Apple devices and Samsung Electronics Co's
line of Android-based Galaxy devices, in addition to the new
line of BlackBerry 10 devices.
BlackBerry shares were down slightly on the Nasdaq on
(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Paul