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Twilio isn’t worried about competition in the communication space, at least not for now. Company chief executive Jeff Lawson seemed to dismiss news this week regarding BlackBerry’s launch of a messaging app developer kit, suggesting that there wasn’t anything his cloud-based communication platform had to worry about.

During Twilio’s fourth quarter earnings call on Tuesday, William Blair analyst Bhavan Suri was interested in Lawson’s reaction on the competitive environment. “Have you seen any change in the competitive environment out here?” he asked. Lawson plainly answered in the negative: “Really the answer is, no. We feel pretty good about our leadership position. We feel we’ve got to develop our mind share. We’ve got great products across many different product categories. And so, we are not seeing a change in the competitive environment out there, nothing we haven’t seen before.”

Hours before the market closed, BlackBerry, which has struggled over the years as seeks to move forward after abandoning smartphone manufacturing, announced it would release a developer kit around secure messaging and file sharing this month. Company chief operating officer Marty Beard reportedly told reporters: “We don’t think current providers are meeting the needs of the enterprise. The market needs this.”

Seeing no success in hardware, BlackBerry seems to have a good position within the enterprise, so leveraging its mobile technology to meet the needs of chief information officers, compliance and regulatory managers, and I.T. managers could be a key differentiator. However, it’s entering a market where it’s playing against not only Twilio, but Bandwidth, Nexmo, Cisco-acquired Tropo, and Plivo. Twilio itself has made strides into the enterprise, not only supporting Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to let companies really own their communication system instead of using on-premise technology, but also launching a plan that addresses many of the management, regulatory, and technological concerns brought forth by CIOs.


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Lawson’s confidence is inspired by the fact Twilio’s 2,000 new accounts it added last quarter came from the enterprise and technology-first organizations. This is perhaps the market leadership that he was referring to, since Twilio has seen mass adoption from developers, many of whom likely appreciate the platform for allowing them to build communication products how they want to, not limited to what is available from the provider.

With the push into the enterprise more than just a mere formality, investors and analysts will be paying close attention to Twilio’s performance, as its success (and failure) will determine where the market is going and will show whether it’s reading the tea leaves correctly. The company declined to elaborate further on Lawson’s comments.

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