BlackBerry announces deal with Amazon for the Amazon App Store

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The news is now official as a press release by BlackBerry has been sent out. News coming in from the WSJ reporting a deal BlackBerry is ready to announce with Amazon for its catalogue of apps from the Amazon App Store for the BlackBerry 10 OS. 

The WSJ first published a report, minutes later, BlackBerry sent out a press release. The press release is below:

June 18, 2014
BlackBerry To Expand Application Ecosystem By Making Amazon Appstore Available on BlackBerry 10 Smartphones
Strategic Move Will Give BlackBerry Users Access to the Vast Selection of Android Apps in the Amazon Appstore, While Enabling BlackBerry to Focus on Enterprise Application Development
WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – June 18, 2014) – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that the Amazon Appstore will be available with the launch of the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system this fall, greatly expanding access to thousands of the most popular apps and games to BlackBerry customers.

With more than 240,000 Android applications in the Amazon Appstore worldwide, BlackBerry 10 device customers will gain access to popular apps such as Groupon, Netflix, Pinterest, Candy Crush Saga and Minecraft.

The strategic move also enables BlackBerry to align its developer program with its renewed focus on delivering the most secure, end-to-end mobile enterprise solutions, by placing more emphasis on the development of vital enterprise and productivity applications.

“Making the Amazon Appstore available on BlackBerry 10 devices will help BlackBerry continue to meet two essential needs: greater app availability for our smartphone users and enhanced productivity solutions for enterprises,” said BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen. “We’ve listened to our customers and have taken this important step to deliver on their needs, while executing on our strategy.”

BlackBerry and Amazon will be working with the BlackBerry application developer community to help them migrate their apps to the Amazon Appstore in preparation for the 10.3 launch, where they will benefit from the store’s powerful promotional tools that enable maximum discoverability and profitability. This will include Appstore Developer Select, which provides enhanced merchandising, as well as Amazon Coins incentives, the Developer Promotions Console, which enables real-time pricing adjustments and specials, and the popular Free App of the Day program.

BlackBerry will unveil a new enterprise application partner program for corporate developers, ISVs and systems integrators, designed to expand the number of enterprise applications that leverage BlackBerry 10 to deliver business-class functionality and enhance users’ productivity, communication and collaboration.

For more information about BlackBerry 10, visit www.blackberry.com/blackberry10OS.

 

The report, posted below gives a quote or two from John Chen on the deal and what he thinks regarding the Smartphone that Amazon is expected to release some time today. This news comes right before Amazon’s big event and a day before BlackBerry’s Q1 2015 Fiscal Report. The Amazon App Store is set to hit BlackBerry 10 users when 10.3 is officially announced this fall.

“We can leverage what [Amazon] can offer,” while providing the Seattle, Wash., company with access to BlackBerry’s customer base, John Chen, BlackBerry’s chief executive, said in an interview.

 

The report:

BlackBerry Ltd. is expected to announce later Wednesday a deal with Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -0.61% to gain access to the e-commerce giant’s Appstore for mobile devices, a move the Canadian company hopes will boost sales of its latest smartphones.

The partnership is meant to expand BlackBerry’s current offering of games, video, music and other mobile apps to help make its smartphones more appealing to consumers, while allowing it to concentrate on developing security and other apps that appeal to the firm’s targeted corporate and government market as it tries to regain market share.

“We can leverage what [Amazon] can offer,” while providing the Seattle, Wash., company with access to BlackBerry’s customer base, John Chen, BlackBerry’s chief executive, said in an interview.

An Amazon spokeswoman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Still, even with this deal, BlackBerry’s selection of apps falls short of those offered by Apple Inc. AAPL -0.13% and Google Inc. GOOGL -0.31%

BlackBerry, Waterloo, Ontario, currently offers about 130,000 apps through its own online store, compared with more than one million each for Apple’s App Store and Google Inc.’s Google Play. Its selection also doesn’t include some of the most popular apps such as Groupon, Netflix, NFLX +3.11% Pinterest and Candy Crush. The Amazon deal addresses these problems to some degree by giving BlackBerry customers access to these apps as part of the more than 240,000 that the Amazon Appstore offers for Android-powered phones, for a total of about 370,000 apps.

BlackBerry said it would preload Amazon’s app store on its devices in the fall at the time the latest version of the BlackBerry 10 operating system is launched. BlackBerry customers can now download apps from the Amazon Appstore, but the process is more cumbersome.

The Amazon partnership comes the day before BlackBerry is scheduled to report its fiscal first-quarter results. Investors expect the company to report a loss because it is still in the middle of its turnaround effort. But a loss is likely to increase the focus on Mr. Chen’s stated efforts to introduce new software and security features to make its devices more appealing to enterprise customers.

The Amazon deal could help BlackBerry achieve that goal by reducing the pressure it faces to support and secure many consumer-focused apps, while freeing up those resources to develop software applications that appeal to enterprise customers.

“I do not have to spend time, energy and money” developing apps that Amazon offers, Mr. Chen said. “Given I want to financially turn around the company and focus on the enterprise space, this is perfect for us.”

Amazon also is expected Wednesday to launch its own smartphone, creating another potential competitor for BlackBerry in an already crowded and competitive device market.

Mr. Chen doesn’t believe Amazon’s new device undercuts BlackBerry’s app partnership with Amazon.

“Our focuses are different,” he said. “My devices are focused on the enterprise, highly secure,” whereas the Amazon phone is more targeted at the consumer, he said.

This is obviously big news for BlackBerry, with rumours circulating about a potential third party Android app store coming to BlackBerry 10, this certainly has some meat to it all. With the rumours of BlackBerry chopping down its workforce including the entire developer team, that may well be true now especially if BlackBerry is to announce a deal with Amazon.

The Amazon App Store for BlackBerry 10 is expected to be preloaded on all BlackBerry 10 devices this fall, we can only imagine this is in-line with OS 10.3 and a new device announcement in September.

What do you guys make of all this? The stock market obviously likes this piece of news, with pre-market already at $8.25, up 2.48%.

 

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