BlackBerry CEO John Chen hit back at Good Technology's mobile security software "free migration" marketing campaign at Mobile World Congress this week, quipping that "Good is not good enough", and saying that reading the fine print shows that "free is not free".
"It's a funny thing," Chen told press at a briefing about the company's enterprise future. "Today you see a lot of vendors and suppliers claiming that they have security that is, I think they say, 'good enough'. I always say, 'Good is not good enough', because it's very point-based.
"And while we're on Good, there are some companies that say ‘We will honour other peoples' licences on the MDM solution'. Other vendors said that, but if you read the fine print, not only will you find out Good isn't good enough, but free is not free. In fact it's only free for three months."
Chen took the opportunity to remind people that BlackBerry's security offering "is actually free" in this way.
"You pay us once, you don't have to pay us again. That's free," he said.
Chen said that he believes BlackBerry's security solutions differ from other industry offerings due to their "end-to-end" nature, and explained why the devices are "expensive".
"You may or may not know this, [but] our encryption came from the chip itself, a specially designed chip from Qualcomm around which we designed software," he said.
"Everything we do from the operating system and encryption point of view, and both sides between the firewall, is where the security is. It really is end-to-end."
Chen admitted that BlackBerry had become "preoccupied" with launching consumer phones around the time of the introduction of BlackBerry 10 early in 2013, and that the company had "done some damage" to its enterprise customer basis.
But now, he said, "that has been completely changed", as BlackBerry announced a number of aggressive measures to get enterprise to buy back into its mobile security offerings.