Samsung Knox Finally Gets a Good Boost at MWC14

Samsung Gets A Boost with Good Technology InsideToday at Mobile World Congress (MWC14), Samsung and Good Technology jointly announced a strategic partnership that will “allow enterprise and government agencies to combine Good Technology’s market-leading container applications, platform and ecosystem with Samsung’s Knox security platform.”

In Good Technology’s official press release Christy Wyatt, president and CEO, Good Technology is reported as saying, “This is a huge win for Samsung and Good customers. Because Good’s apps and container security layer have a unique place in the KNOX stack, Good customers can now benefit from KNOX’s hardware- and OS- level security,” and that “Samsung customers can uniquely enable the Good secure container as the mobile app security and management stack on KNOX devices and leverage the entire Good ecosystem of business productivity apps.”

Good for Samsung (no pun), however if I were the one quoted in the press release it would likely look something like this:

Ralph Rodriguez, CEO and Chief Research Officer, Blue Hill Research is reported as saying, “This is a huge win for Samsung’s initial guinea pigs customers and future enterprise users because Good’s apps and container security layer create a SAFE (pun) place in the KNOX stack. Good customers can now benefit from enabling KNOX’s hardware- and OS- level security – albeit that they won’t realize full value until sometime in the future,” and that “Samsung guinea pigs customers can exclusively enable the Good secure container as the mobile app security and management stack on KNOX devices and leverage the entire Good ecosystem of business productivity apps.”

While it was expected that many companies would announce key partnerships at MWC14, the question really lies in whether Samsung Knox has fixed their own strategic blunders and problems.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Blue Hill illuminated these aforementioned issues in our post Why Samsung Knox has flopped.

In this blog we tackled key issues surrounding:

– Samsung’s release of what was effectively ‘vaporware’ at MWC13
– Samsung Knox’s Galaxy device exclusivity
– Pricing, Security, and NIH

So here we are exactly one year later (MWC14) and again there is quite the buzz and flurry of activity surrounding Samsung announcements. For those of you keeping tabs at home the scorecard thus far looks like this:

– Key partnerships, collaborations and alliances
– Integrations with leading EMM, MDM and mobile device security vendor software (Fixmo, Good Technology, and Mobile Iron will be allowed to run on the personal side)
– Introduction of KNOX Marketplace, an enterprise app store powered by AppDirect– Announcement of Galaxy S5 smartphone with a security-focused fingerprint scanner
– Samsung’s announcement of Knox 2.0 software for enterprise-level security and management

I am sure this list will quickly become incomplete, as more announcements will follow throughout the week. The question is whether or not, somewhere in all this noise, there is an answer to CxO’s needs for their Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and mobile device solutions.

Samsung reports to have sold over 25 million devices running Knox, with more than one million active users on the platform.  Blue Hill likes that Knox 2.0 will give CxOs cloud-based purchasing and control of all Samsung services and apps, as well as single sign-on (SSO) for end users of Samsung products.  Their app store is slated to be available as part of Knox 2.0 and will offer roughly 150 enterprise-focused apps that IT shops can make available to end-users. Knox 2.0 will not allow users to add their own applications to the work-side part of the device but will allow several third-party EMM vendors, currently Fixmo, Good Technology and Mobile Iron to run in an untrusted state on the personal side of a device.

Knox 2.0 is a lot like Blackberry in that it will have the ability to separate apps, emails and other services into two profiles: work and personal. However, a Fiero is a lot like a Ferrari too – if a child were to explain them to me. So lets not confuse the capabilities of Knox vs. BlackBerry security.  While Good is Good for Samsung, BlackBerry BES10 is as they state “the only integrated, end-to-end multi-platform solution that fully secures and manages all of your mobility needs.” With today’s announcement of BES12 their new architecture should enable a painless way forward for BlackBerry’s existing 80,000 BES customers.

This is where Good will help save Samsung Knox 2.x by creating a “Good Secure Domain” so users can deploy Good’s mobile app ecosystem and real app-level security while waiting for Knox’s security readiness at the Android operating system and hardware levels.

It’s Good to have a friend…

What are your thoughts on Samsung’s announcements this week at Mobile World Congress?

About Ralph Rodriguez

Ralph Rodriguez is the CEO and Research Fellow of Blue Hill Research and an industry expert across cloud, mobile and security technologies. Ralph brings over 25 years of experience spanning IT management, research and entrepreneurship in a variety of executive CxO roles. Previously Rodriguez served as COO of Nucleus Research, Inc., SVP and Research Director at Aberdeen Group (NYSE:HHS), CTO of Brooks Automation (NASDAQ:BRKS), EVP-CIO of Excelon Corporation (NASDAQ:EXLN) and EVP-CIO of C-bridge Internet Solutions (NASDAQ:CBIS). Rodriguez is currently a Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and holds a Sc.D. in information systems and a graduate of the management program GPMD-MBA at IESE Business School, Barcelona Spain. Rodriguez is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War.
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