BlackBerry Inks Multi-Million Dollar Deal With Senate

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BlackBerry announced  on Tuesday a multi-million dollar deal with the U.S. government for five years to run emergency notifications for the U.S. Senate. The Canadian firm also announced a handful of other smaller deals as it shifts its focus from smartphones to software.

A preferred vendor

This multi-million dollar deal with the U.S. government will serve BlackBerry’s purpose of providing its crisis communication software to the U.S. Senate chief security service, structuring its efforts to reinvent itself as a source of mobile security software focusing on the government and business sectors.

On its five-year contract, BlackBerry said the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms office will use its software to authorize the emergency mass notification system to alert people working and visiting the U.S. Capitol complex, including the White House, Senate and Pentagon. The U.S. Department of Defense, one of BlackBerry’s major customers, has provided additional technical approvals to BlackBerry’s mobile management system and phone software, giving it an advantage as its preferred vendor.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company did not state the new contract’s exact value but did say its crisis communication software serves over 3 million U.S. government employees.

Other wins for BlackBerry                   

BlackBerry also said on Tuesday that AtHoc, the crisis communication firm that it bought last year, extended its deal with the U.S. Coast Guard to cover its employees in Washington, D.C. The Canadian firm refused to reveal the financial aspects of the deal.

The Canadian company also announced its collaboration with another company called AppDome to allow corporate coders to decode apps from other systems and make them compatible with BlackBerry systems. The Canadian firm also inked a deal for its QNX industrial operating system to be utilized in electric locomotives being developed in Turkey.

The Canadian firm revealed all these deals at its security summit in New York, demonstrating its shift from a smartphone maker to a corporate and government IT supplier. With these announcements, the Canadian firm also aptly answers critics who argue that it is taking too long to deliver meaningful results.

“We line up what we believe is the most robust end to end, deepest technology stack in the area of security,” BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen told the audience during the company’s annual conference on mobile security.

On Tuesday, BlackBerry shares closed down 0.89% at $6.67. Year to date, the stock is down almost 29%, while in the last year, it is down more than 14%.

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