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Will market consolidation burn BlackBerry in 2016?

As 2015 draws to a close, the staff of TechTarget’s end-user computing sites took to Slack and held an hour-long chat about the year’s biggest trends. Over the next few days, we’ll bring you slightly edited excerpts from those discussions. In today’s debut post, our editors discuss the year’s major vendor acquisitions.

Bridget Botelho, senior news director: Enterprise mobility management (EMM) market consolidation was a big trend this year, with BlackBerry’s purchase of Watchdox and Good Technology.

Alyssa Wood, managing editor: Do you think Good will be a big boost for Blackberry’s mobile business?

Colin Steele, editorial director: There’s a lot of overlap between BlackBerry and Good. They competed for the same security-conscious customers. But Good does have a better cross-platform story, which should help. BlackBerry Enterprise Service still has a reputation as only being for BlackBerry management.

Bridget: Blackberry’s acquisition of Good probably won’t help its mobile business much, if you are talking about devices. I’m guessing the folks that bought Good will stick with it, unless BlackBerry alienates them somehow (major pricing changes or something like that). So BlackBerry gained Good’s customer base, and that will help its software business.

Colin: Agreed. BlackBerry devices are toast.

Bridget: 2016 prediction: Blackberry discontinues its handset business. What do you expect to happen in the mobile space following the Dell/EMC/VMware deal? Dell doesn’t have a mobile presence, really. Nor does EMC. (Or if they do, I’m not aware of it).

Colin: Dell would control VMware, and AirWatch is trying to combine EMM and PC management with Project A Squared. If Dell built that into its PCs, that could really jumpstart the market for unified endpoint management.

Bridget: VMware will run independently, though, and Dell will have about 28% of its stock — less than EMC owned. So Dell may not have as much influence over VMware as it seems.

Colin: How is consolidation affecting IT pros this year and into the future?

Bridget: The trend means far fewer options for IT pros, for one. But it also means the big companies they already rely on for IT infrastructure can now serve their mobile computing needs as well.

Colin: The problem with that is that traditional IT infrastructure vendors aren’t always best suited to solve IT’s mobility challenges.

Bridget: Yes, that is true. Small mobile software vendors provide customization and customer service that IT shops simply won’t be able to get from companies like BlackBerry and Microsoft.

Alyssa: What do you guys think will happen to MobileIron, the only standalone EMM vendor left?

Bridget: MobileIron may very well remain on its own. It’s a public company, so there isn’t that push from venture capitalists to sell the company for a return on their investment. MobileIron is in a good position, with over 10,000 customers and $125 million in revenue in 2014.

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