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BlackBerry signs cybersecurity deal with Giuliani

Company is solidly viable after three years but not back in the black, CEO says

Image Credit: Naushad K. Cherrayil/Gulf News
John Chen, CEO of Blackberry and Rudy Giuliani, CEO of Giuliani Partners.
Gulf News

Las Vegas: BlackBerry has signed a cybersecurity deal with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s security management consulting firm.

Under the deal, Giuliani Partners will use the company’s BlackBerry Secure platform in its cybersecurity consulting services for government, individuals and business customers.

John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, said that the partnership provides an opportunity for the company to offer its products and services to new customers and boost its software business.

“We have been in the security business for 16 years with corporations and countries on every continent. Many of our clients are seeking better software solutions in the last four years and I have a passion for this,” Giuliani said.

“If you look at the cybersecurity numbers, it is totally out of control. Cybercrime is the fastest growing of crime and cyber intrusion is growing at rates that are almost impossible to calculate.

“What we do is we analyse the problem and help them by giving them the solution. By teaming up with BlackBerry, we are on hands by far on analysing the problem for them. From the beginning, BlackBerry has got the best security software apart from the keyboard,” he said.

“John or I cannot offer 100 per cent solution to cyber intrusion like a polio vaccine but we may do what has been done to cancer, which is to reduce is dramatically or in some cases, cure it,” he added.

BlackBerry, which is seeing a 30 per cent year on year increase in its software business, is looking at further strengthening its business by quitting its smartphone hardware business.

BlackBerry has quit its smartphone hardware business and started outsourcing it to local players in each country to manufacture and distribute the devices and focus more on software side of the smartphone business.

“What I am doing right now is licensing the software technology and in some cases our brand to local partners. I don’t want to make phones anymore. Manufacturing a phone is capital intensive, lot of hard work and small margins,” he said.

More phones

BlackBerry is to announce partners in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka soon.

He said that consumers could see more BlackBerry phones in the market soon.

Chen said that QWERTY-keyboard Mercury, made by China’s TCL, will be the last smartphone designed by BlackBerry.

TCL showcased the new 4.5-inch Mercury phone at CES, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chip coupled with a 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage capacity. It houses 18MP rear camera and 8MP front camera.

Chen said that revenues during the last 12 months have not been good but the gross margins have improved tremendously.

He said the company is solidly viable after three years and has a billion dollar of net cash in the bank which the company is looking to use it for mergers and acquisitions but it is not back in the black.

“There is a still a demand for BlackBerry phones in the government, health care and banking spaces,” he said.

At the event, Blackberry took the wraps off its latest generation of its in-car operating system, QNX SDP 7.0, which it claims takes security as well as reliability to another level.

BlackBerry’s QNX software is deployed in 60 million vehicles on the road today and by 40 automakers worldwide, including Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, KIA, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Toyota.

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