BlackBerry acquired Good Technology: What the deal means for healthcare

By Eric Wicklund
11:10 AM
Combined companies can offer cross-platform secure messaging for IoT, medical devices, wearables

BlackBerry has for more than a year now been trying to elbow its way into the healthcare market and doing so mostly via acquisitions.
That spending spree continued on Friday when the Canadian company revealed its intentions to buy Good Technology for $425 million in cash.

Good, a California-based developer of secure mobility solutions, bring a product portfolio including mobile device management, unified monitoring, app management and analytics.

The partnership is expected to create an enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform that would allow healthcare providers and other companies to manage devices across a wide range of platforms and operating systems.

In a conference call with investors, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that BlackBerry has a strong play in the "traditional MDM space," but hasn't had much experience with other operating systems, except for Google's Android

Chen also highlighted Good Technology's "very strong iOS container," in particular the Good Works platform, and noted some 64 percent of Good's activations are from iOS devices.

"This will help us a lot," Chen said, adding that BlackBerry now has secure platforms for voice, file sharing and – with the pending acquisition of AtHoc announced in July – alert messaging.

Good CEO Christy Wyatt, meanwhile, added that Good's technologies will help to advance BlackBerry's Internet of Things work, notably for securing end points other than mobile devices.

"In addition to smartphones and tablets running iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS, Good will enable BlackBerry to add support for wearables," Wyatt wrote in a blog posted on the BlackBerry site. "This is something we do today for both Apple Watch and Android Gear. This need to manage and enable secure productivity applications for this new breed of devices is becoming increasingly relevant as watches, fitness trackers and other devices are connecting to corporate networks."

Prior to the Good and AtHoc deals, BlackBerry moved to acquire SecuSmart for its voice and text communications tools, took a stake in NantHealth to work on supercomputing and data management, inked a deal with Axial Exchange to make its patient engagement app available for BlackBerry users – and the company last summer unveiled a clinical operating system for medical devices

Whether all this will be enough to gain a foothold in healthcare and other verticals and keep BlackBerry's comeback alive, however, remains to be seen.