BlackBerry Ltd CEO: ‘I cannot buy everything’

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BlackBerry did not drop any shocks last week at its annual Security Summit. There were no surprise products or acquisitions this time, unlike in previous years. However, the Canadian firm did conspicuously share the limelight with several partners, and some of those partners will probably make jolly good new owners, says The Register.

BlackBerry looking for partners

Google, Microsoft and Samsung were on the stage. On Monday, Microsoft got a mention again when the Waterloo-based company declared that its acquired software platform Good can run on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Since March, BlackBerry’s homegrown management suite has run on the Azure cloud.

BlackBerry has $2.5 billion in cash and investments in the bank for funding its own acquisitions. Its CEO and a turnaround artist John Chen, however, prefers to perform surgical takeovers. The fact is that there is a limited scope in what anyone can do with $2.5 billion against platforms dominated by much larger companies, says The Register.

“Our game plan isn’t to buy more revenue, but we will make more acquisitions,” Chen says.

BlackBerry is touting the “end-to-end” nature of its offerings, but that does not mean that everything between the ends is powered by a product or service from the Waterloo-based company.

Chen gave a clue when he said, “I cannot buy everything. Or manage everything. Right now we’re covering communicating channels. With other things we’ll have to partner.”

Important acquisitions so far

An important thing the Canadian firm brought in-house is security squawker AtHoc which it gobbled up a year ago. This security squawker is used to transfer and spread information during critical emergency situations. The almost daily and random atrocities highlight the need for this.

Another important BlackBerry purchase is Radar, which offers Internet of Things products like an asset tracking system that is in three pilot projects. Chen said that containers and trucks are two separate things, and the container security problem is a big problem that many have not yet solved.

“One niche company really does that and we’d like to move into that space,” said Chen.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry has launched the “world’s most secure Android smartphone,” the DTEK50. This new mid-range, touchscreen Android smartphone is already available for preorder in the U.S. and Western Europe for US$299 and in Canada for $429. This is less than half the price of its predecessor, the Priv, which performed poorly due to its premium price tag.

On Tuesday, BlackBerry shares closed up 2.12% at $7.23. Year to date, the stock is down almost 23%, while in the last year, it is down more than 1%.

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