John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, has hit out at Google’s decision to adopt Sammy’s KNOX security platform across the whole Android ecosystem.
In a blog post on the official BlackBerry website Chen is quoted saying:
While we applaud Google and Samsung for their plans, we don’t think it’s enough for security-minded enterprises. Instead, look to the companies that have literally invested three decades into advancing the twin causes of security and productivity. In other words, don’t be dazzled by those who can talk the security talk. Instead. Look to the company that has proven repeatedly that it can walk the walk.
A survey conducted for Microsoft found that the top two issues for corporate customers buying mobile phones are price and security. So it is no surprise that industry leaders are squabbling over who has the most secure OS.
At Google I/O it was announced that the KNOX containerisation system – which sandboxes parts of the OS to add security – was to be integrated into the Android core.
The latest pop at KNOX from Chen comes on the heels of an earlier blog post where he said “KNOX tries to build a fortress upon an insecure foundation”, while pointing to Blackberry’s use of BES to provide a secure end-to-end system. Cough, India, cough.
Chen is not the first CEO to lambast Android security. At the WWDC launch of iOS 7, Apple boss Tim Cook said that Android dominated the mobile malware market, calling it a “burning stew”.
There is an irony in BlackBerry complaining when Google does something positive about addressing Android's security issues. KNOX users often report that it can be overly nannying, with false and irrelevant warnings of security breaches, which is what Chen probably means when he talks about the “twin causes”.
Chen's real challenge, however, will be to get customers – enterprise and consumer alike – to want to use BlackBerry in a choose-your-own-device world. ®