BlackBerry Company Profile

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Company Profile

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00018890

Publication Date: 2207

Report Type: VENDOR


BlackBerry, originally Research in Motion (RIM), was once the dominant player in the enterprise smartphone
market, but the company struggled against more nimble competition from Apple and a range of Android-based
competitors. To consolidate its corporate identity, RIM changed its name to BlackBerry after its most well-known
product and, under the leadership of CEO John Chen, has reinvented itself as a software business, most notably
in the cybersecurity field, a move bolstered by its acquisition of Cylance in 2019.

Report Contents:

Fast Facts

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Name: BlackBerry
2200 University Ave. E
Canada N2K 0A7
Phone: (519) 888-7465
(519) 888-7884
Type of
Wireless solutions vendor
Founded: 1984
Service Areas:
Stock Symbol: BB (NYSE)


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BlackBerry – formerly Research in Motion (RIM) – makes software products and offers services
focusing on the cybersecurity field after making its name in the mobile and
telecommunications market. Headquartered in Waterloo,
Ontario, Canada, the firm that once dominated the enterprise market for
mobile devices faced significant competitive challenges. However, over
the past several years with John Chen as CEO, BlackBerry has been making a
transformation from hardware vendor to software provider. 

History & Milestone Events

BlackBerry was founded in 1984 by two
engineering students and became the first wireless data technology developer in
North America. The company, formerly known as Research in Motion, changed its
name to BlackBerry in 2013 in an effort to consolidate its corporate identity
into one major presence. Major milestones in BlackBerry’s history are compiled in the following timeline:

  • 1996 – Introduces Freedom, the first two-way messaging
  • 1997 – Becomes a publicly traded
    company on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
  • 1998 – Launches the first BlackBerry, a wireless handheld device that
    would become the company’s
    main product for a period of time.
  • 1999 – Is listed on
    NASDAQ; introduces BlackBerry wireless e-mail system.
  • 2001 – Is sued by NTP, the beginning of a costly five year legal
    battle. NTP claims to hold the patent similar to RIM’s handheld device.
  • 2008 – Experiences a nationwide outage of its BlackBerry service
    that last three hours (due to a routine upgrade of an internal
    data-routing system).
  • 2009 – Ships its 75 millionth BlackBerry smartphone and reaches 36 million total BlackBerry subscriber
    accounts … RIM and its co-CEOs settled lawsuits with the Ontario Securities
  • 2010 – Buys QNX Software Systems and its tablet
    technology … Is sued separately by Eastman Kodak and Motorola for patent
  • 2011 – Releases Playbook tablet in 44 global markets.
  • 2012 – Names Thorsten Heins as CEO, replacing two co-CEOs amid corporate
    takeover rumors and poor financial results … Debuts Playbook 2.0.
  • 2013 – Announces name change to BlackBerry and major
    rebranding strategy … Debuts BlackBerry 10 (BB10) mobile computing
    platform and two smartphones based upon this platform.
  • 2014 – Appoints John Chen as CEO following the departure of Thorsten Heins in November 201
    … Marty Beard is named COO in July … Announces a deal with Foxconn, an
    electronic parts manufacturer, that will have Foxconn developing specific
    BlackBerry devices … Closes the acquisition of Secusmart, a voice, data
    encryption, and anti-eavesdropping solution provider … Stops production of
    the Playbook tablet.
  • 2015 – Releases Priv, the first BlackBerry smartphone using the
    Android operating system … Completes the acquisition of Good Technology, a
    security mobility solution provider, for $425 million … Receives approval
    from the Department of Defense to use derived Public Key Infrastructure
    credential on BlackBerry 10 smartphones … Acquires AtHoc, a vendor of secure,
    networked crisis communications, and WatchDox, a data security company.
  • 2016 – Launches the Professional Cybersecurity Services
    Practice in an effort to expand upon its security portfolio. Included within
    this updated offering are: strategic security, technical security,
    automotive and IoT security, and detection, testing, and analysis … Announces
    that it will outsource the manufacture of all of its
    smartphones to TCL Communications.
  • 2018 – Announces Jarvis, a cybersecurity product to scan
    for vulnerabilities in automotive software. BlackBerry announces plans
    to acquire security vendor Cylance.
  • 2019 – Creates a new subsidiary called BlackBerry
    Government Solutions to deepen its relationship with US federal agencies and
    accelerate its FedRAMP initiatives … Completes the Cylance acquisition, worth $1.4
    billion … Announces departure of President and
    COO, Bryan Palma less than one year after his appointment.

  • 2020

    – Introduces AtHoc, a managed service for establishing and
    maintaining crisis communications … Forges a partnership with Bell to
    provide enhanced secure communications to business and government customers
    … Appoints Thomas Eacobacci as President and Marjorie Dickman as Chief
    Government Affairs and Public Policy Officer … Unveils Spark Suites
    cybersecurity and endpoint management options … Teams with AWS to
    demonstrate a connected vehicle software platform for in-vehicle
  • 2021 – Restructures operations by organizing around two business units: Cyber Security and IoT.
  • 2022 – Announces it will decommission the infrastructure
    and services used by its legacy software and phone operating systems.


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BlackBerry – as an "intelligent" security software and services provider –
focuses on delivering broad security and visibility capabilities that cover
users, devices, networks, apps, and data. The Company leverages its technology
portfolio to offer security, safety, and reliability coverage in areas such as
IoT (Internet of Things), cybersecurity, connected transportation, healthcare,
financial services, and government markets.

BlackBerry’s goal is to remain a leader in regulated industries and
other core verticals. Key aims include:

  • Extending the functionality of its Spark software platform through
    organic investments and strategic acquisitions.
  • Driving revenue growth and margins consistent with other software
  • Embracing sales from enterprise software, services, and licensing.
  • Building developer and channel partner programs.
  • Bolstering direct sales and marketing efforts.
  • Promoting IoT ecosystem growth.


Competitive strengths across BlackBerry’s businesses include differentiated
product features that are relative to cost, performance, product quality, and
reliability. The company’s applications are known for cross-ecosystem
compatibility, service, and support. BlackBerry – which also had a once-strong
corporate reputation as the vendor synonymous with keyboard-style mobile
handsets – believes that it delivers the broadest set of security capabilities
and visibility in the market.


Despite pioneering the smartphone field – in 2007 BlackBerry sold more
handsets than any other company1 – BlackBerry has lost significant ground to competitors such as iPhone,
Galaxy, and others. This significant dropoff in brand recognition, which
includes a total abandonment of its once-popular hardware products in 2016, has
resulted in a number of changes just to keep the company alive. Significant risk
factors include:

  • Inability to enhance, develop, or monetize products and services.
  • Competitive industry marked by rapid technological change.
  • Dependence on Spark platform.
  • Time-consuming investments in enhancing reputation.
  • Restrictions related to government approvals and certifications.
  • Inherent risks in transmitting, processing, and storing sensitive data.


Officially, due to the uncertainty surrounding the global economy in light of
novel coronavirus, BlackBerry will not provide an on-the-record forecast for
2020 or 2021.

"BlackBerry," as noted by Executive Chairman and CEO, John Chen, found itself
impacted by "macro headwinds," but is nonetheless "starting to see signs of a
recovery. On the enterprise front, we saw good demand from customers who
recognized the necessity for BlackBerry’s security, business continuity, and
productivity solutions in an increasingly remote working environment. BlackBerry
is capitalizing on the secular trends of securing and connecting endpoints.”

Product Lines

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BlackBerry has made its mark in the wireless industry through its namesake device and
software, but it has reinvented itself with a host of different offerings from
critical communications to security products and more. 

Table 1 outlines the company’s main product offerings.

Table 1. BlackBerry Product Offerings
Product/Service Description

Unified Endpoint Security

  • Spark UES Suite
  • Protect
  • Persona
  • Optics

Secure Communications

  • SecuSUITE
  • BBM Enterprise

Alerts & Crisis Communications

  • AtHoc
  • AtHoc Managed Service


  • Legacy, now Android-based, smartphones
  • Hub+ apps running Android

Unified Endpoint Management

  • Spark UEM Suites
  • UEM
  • Identity & Access Management
  • Workspaces


  • Digital Workplace
  • Dynamics Apps
  • Marketplace for Enterprise Software

Transportation Asset Tracking

  • Radar

Embedded Software

  • QNX Real-time OS
  • QNX Hypervisor
  • Certicom Asset Management System

Automotive Software

  • QNX Platform for Instrument Clusters
  • QNX ADAS Platform

Antivirus for the Home

  • Cylance Smart Antivirus (Consumer)


  • Cybersecurity Consulting
  • Enterprise Consulting
  • BlackBerry Guard
  • QNX Professional Services

Major Competitors


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Products and Services

BlackBerry Radar, the company’s data-driven monitoring solution
for the transportation industry, has been added to the AWS Marketplace. AWS Marketplace is a curated digital
catalog that makes it easy to find, test, buy, and deploy software on Amazon Web Services. Radar provides
real-time data to fleet owners about trailers, chassis, and containers, with information on location, cargo
status, motion, mileage, temperature, humidity, and door open/closed status via a user dashboard. All data
is transmitted and stored securely on a cloud platform, which maintains the privacy of user information at
all times.

A new offering from BlackBerry aims to secure remote workers and
prevent malicious threat actors from compromising corporate networks by using advanced AI-driven cybersecurity.
The new CylanceGATEWAY’s ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access)-as-a-service capabilities will provide businesses of
all sizes with a contextual correlation of network and device telemetry combined with continuous authentication
to limit access to trusted, authenticated, and known users and devices. The service augments a prevention-first
cybersecurity posture to protect against the prolific growth of ransomware and other advanced cybersecurity

BlackBerry Limited has launched Chrome Enterprise Management with
BlackBerry UEM, providing a suite of unified endpoint management (UEM) support for the growing number of devices
running Google Chrome OS and Chrome browser in enterprises. BlackBerry UEM leverages the new Chrome Enterprise
Connectors Framework and associated Chrome Management APIs including Chrome Policy APIs to manage and secure
Chrome-based devices. Via a single integrated dashboard view, IT managers can activate an extensive list of
policies including remote wipe, password enforcement, user group and Allowlist configurations, auto-updates, and
connection settings for Chrome OS-powered devices and the Chrome browser. The new integration increases BlackBerry
UEM’s Serviceable Available Market since Chrome enterprise devices are quickly gaining popularity as a cost-effective,
competitive solution for business executives, their tech teams, and employees. The BlackBerry UEM integration is
featured on Google’s Chrome Enterprise Recommended program that helps enterprises select validated partner solutions
and integrations that support their workforce, no matter what devices they choose to use.

The BlackBerry Jarvis software composition analysis tool has added
a new feature that enables those doing business with the US Federal Government to comply with the recent software
bill of materials (SBOM) requirement in President Biden’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity.
The Executive Order requires any vendor, supplier, or provider of technology solutions to the US government to
provide a full SBOM and demonstrate other cybersecurity management measure to ensure that any security vulnerabilities
in the software supply chain of the nation’s critical infrastructure are identified and remediated immediately. In
response, BlackBerry QNX has added a specific capability to Jarvis that enables users to generate a comprehensive SBOM
report that follows the Software Package Data Exchange report standard, one of the leading standards to support the
US government and other regulatory bodies. BlackBerry Jarvis will become one of the first software composition analysis
tools to provide this key feature and help developers keep software secure from all known issues based on the quick
and actionable intelligence provided.

As one of the final moves that started with an announcement in 2016 that BlackBerry
would no longer manufacture original handheld devices, company CEO John Chen
wrote in a blog post that “as of today (Jan. 4, 2022), BlackBerry has decommissioned
the infrastructure and services used by our legacy software and phone operating systems which are
over 20 years old now.” In essence, devices running these legacy services over WiFi or cell networks
are no longer able to make calls, send or receive text messages, or download data. Android-powered phones
manufactured by Chinese firm TCL before 2020 are not affected by the change. However, even these devices
are on borrowed time as major carriers are set to phase out 3G technology and TCL
has said it will stop support of the existing handsets as of August 31, 2022.

BlackBerry Limited has released Jarvis 2.0, the latest edition
of the company’s flagship software composition analysis tool. BlackBerry Jarvis 2.0 introduces a SaaS version
of the original Jarvis capabilities that provide developers and integrators a more user-friendly, focused
feature set around the three most important areas that those building mission-critical applications need to
validate to ensure the quality of their multi-tiered software supply chain: Open-source software (OSS), common
vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE), and software bill of materials (SBOM) management. The online end user
dashboard of the tool has also been enhanced with specific cautions and advisory flags empowering teams to keep
software secure from all known issues based on the actionable intelligence BlackBerry Jarvis 2.0 provides.

BlackBerry has introduced a new critical event management (CEM)
solution called BlackBerry Alert that will help commercial organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover
from major incidents. BlackBerry Alert is available to customers – from small businesses to large enterprises –
as either a SaaS solution or a fully managed service providing for ease of setup and use. The new offering
centralizes critical event management by integrating data from across an organization to provide a seamless
and reliable exchange of critical information to keep businesses running and people safe. BlackBerry Alert is
built on BlackBerry’s previous experience in providing CEM solutions to the public sector with its BlackBerry
AtHoc product line.

Alliances and Joint Ventures

BlackBerry Limited has entered into a partnership with Midis Group
to expand its go-to-market sales opportunities in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The Midis Group
will focus on driving growth for BlackBerry’s Cybersecurity business unit by establishing BlackBerry-branded
local offices to promote its portfolio of unified endpoint management solutions and next-generation AI-based
Cylance cybersecurity products.

BlackBerry Limited and Deloitte are teaming up to help original
equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and those building mission-critical applications to secure their software
supply chains. As part of the agreement, Deloitte will leverage BlackBerry’s flagship software composition
analysis tool, Jarvis 2.0, to provide open-source software (OSS), common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE),
and software bill of materials (SBOM) analysis for clients across the medical, automotive, and aerospace
industries. This will help keep software safe and secure based on the actionable intelligence the platform
provides. A G7 Transportation Ministry has selected the companies’ joint software and services offering to
ensure the security of its traffic management and broader transportation infrastructure.

BlackBerry Limited is teaming with Car IQ, a California-based
financial technology solution provider, to create a highly secure vehicle-based payment capability for the
connected car payments market. The product will allow automakers the opportunity to offer a vast array of
payment services for items such as fuel, tolls, parking, insurance, maintenance, and other costs by creating
a “digital fingerprint” for the vehicle, allowing it to securely connect to a bank’s payment network. This
will eliminate the need for physical credit cards or smartphone apps to communicate with each individual
merchant and service provider.

BlackBerry Limited and IBM have established a new
partnership to bring the BlackBerry Spark platform to organizations across Canada. IBM will
resell BlackBerry’s endpoint management, endpoint security, and critical event management
software to enterprises and governments nationwide.

The Government of Canada has chosen BlackBerry Limited
to help meet its secure communications and productivity needs. Shared Services Canada (SSC) signed
a multi-year agreement giving public servants across the government access to BlackBerry Spark
unified endpoint management (UEM) and BlackBerry SecuSUITE. SSC is responsible for delivering
modern, secure, and reliable digital services across the Government of Canada.

BlackBerry is expanding its
strategic partnership with Chinese tech firm Baidu, whose high definition road
maps will run on BlackBerry’s QNX Neutrino Real-time Operating System (RTOS) and
will be mass produced in the forthcoming GAC New Energy Aion models from the
electric vehicle arm of Guangzhou Automotive Group (GAC Group Co. Ltd.). Baidu
is one of a few high-definition map vendors with an Automotive SPICE
certification from TUV Rheinland – an industry certification that addresses
rigid requirements for the software development process for Tier 1 and Tier 2
automotive suppliers. The QNX Neutrino RTOS foundation for the high-def maps is
a real-time microkernel operating system that provides deterministic performance
as well as the flexibility to address the limited resources of the embedded


BlackBerry Limited reached an agreement to settle a class action
lawsuit alleging it defrauded shareholders by inflating the success and profitability of its BlackBerry 10
smartphone. An agreement in principle was reached following a voluntary mediation process that resulted in
the parties’ acceptance of the mediator’s recommendation for settlement. The agreement calls for a cash
payment by the company of $165 million to settle claims brought on behalf of all persons who purchased or
otherwise acquired BlackBerry stock between March 28, 2013 and September 20, 2013 when the company was listed
on the NASDAQ exchange. The shareholders accused BlackBerry of concealing the model’s actual sales prospects
in public statements during 2013, resulting in an inflated share price for the company.

Personnel and Organizational

In an update relating to the pending sale of intellectual property assets to Catapult IP Innovations,
BlackBerry Limited announced that Catapult continues to work on
securing the required financing. While BlackBerry confirms that the expected closing for the sale of
its non-core patent assets for $600 million is still the first quarter of 2023, it also stated that the
company “is no longer under exclusivity with Catapult and, given the length of time that the transaction
has taken, BlackBerry is exploring alternative options in parallel.”

BlackBerry Limited has entered into a patent sale agreement with
Catapult IP Innovations, Inc. to sell substantially all of its non-core patent assets for total consideration
of $600 million. The patents related primarily to mobile devices, messaging, and wireless networking. All
intellectual property that are essential to BlackBerry’s current core business operations are excluded from
the transaction. The company also says that the deal will not impact customers’ use of any BlackBerry products,
solutions, or services.

BlackBerry Limited says it has achieved carbon neutrality across Scope
1, Scope 2, and material Scope 3 emissions, the three groups that categorize the emissions a company creates, as
classified under the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Standard. Among the steps the company has taken are
reducing direct and indirect emissions across operations by 88 percent since 2013, moving company and customer
workloads to the cloud, and partnering with the Restore the Earth Foundation to help reforest the Mississippi
River basin. According to the company, “The technology sector has a central role to play in responding to the
climate crisis, as digital transformation has the potential to decouple economic growth from carbon emissions
growth. Furthermore, the technology sector is responsible for 2 to 3 percent of global carbon emissions.”

BlackBerry announced steps to align operations and go-to-market efforts
by organizing around two business units: Cyber Security and IoT. The company is also appointing business unit managers
to provide direction to strategy, engineering, direct and channel sales, customer support, and field marketing. Tom
Eacobacci has been promoted to BlackBerry President and Chief Operating Officer, and will also serve as Acting General
Manager of the Cyber Security business unit, which combines BlackBerry Spark with the company’s event management and
secure communications solutions. Mattias Eriksson has been appointed President and General Manager of the new BlackBerry
IoT business unit. This unit will consist of BlackBerry Technology Solutions (BTS, which includes BlackBerry QNX,
BlackBerry Certicom, BlackBerry Radar, and BlackBerry Jarvis) and BlackBerry IVY. Eriksson will be responsible for
driving IoT platform strategy and operations.


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1Elmer-Dewitt, Philip. "iPhone sales grew 245% in 2008 – Gartner."
Fortune. March 12, 2009.

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