BlackBerry Technology Solutions is company’s next step in business consolidation

Ian Hardy

August 18, 2014 9:34am

BlackBerry has merged a number of operations under a new business unit called BlackBerry Technology Solutions (BTS), and has also appointed Dr. Sandeep Chennakeshu to lead the group.

BTS Group now “comprises BlackBerry’s innovative technology assets” that include QNX, its Internet of Things platform Project Ion, Certicom, Paratek, and its 44,000 patents — which has been valued between $2 billion to $3 billion.

Sandeep Chennakeshu, title inventor on 73 patents himself, was President of Ericsson Mobile Platforms and CTO of Sony-Ericsson before starting at BlackBerry.

John Chen, BlackBerry’s CEO, said, “I am very pleased that Sandeep has joined BlackBerry to lead BTS. QNX, Certicom and Paratek are strategic and technically innovative assets with significant potential to address the much wider global markets for secure, reliable communications and embedded applications. Combining all these assets into a single business unit led by Sandeep will create operational synergies and new revenue streams, furthering our turnaround strategy.”

  • deltatux

    Sounds like they mixed everything together under one umbrella. Could be a set up for some sort of spin off or what not it seems. Hopefully not but it sounds like it…

    • hoo dat

      If you’re spinning off assets it’s better to do it individually rather than a group, you’d get a much greater ROI. Putting every thing under one umbrella is advantageous and far more efficient from a logistical and administrative perspective and supports a much more cohesive vision, it makes no sense of you’re selling off assets.

    • deltatux

      yes but the way I see it is that they are bundling all their largest revenue generators under one roof and may chunk off the rest…

    • thisiscjay

      This includes the 44,000 patents, so what would be considered “the rest” as I don’t see BBM being “chunked off” personally..

    • Superion

      The Hardware division would be the rest. It’s also the only area that BlackBerry is currently struggling in. BlackBerry is number 1 by mile in MDM, BlackBerry is number 1 by a mile in automotive software solutions, BlackBerry is number 1 in embedded software solutions. They are also working on new ventures in healthcare and IoT which are expected to be huge multi-billion dollar businesses in the next few years.

      The only thing they aren’t doing very well, or are at least well positioned for future success in, is hardware.

      So, if they are going to cleave off any portion of the company, that would be the part that gets chopped first.

    • thisiscjay

      Unlikely to see this happen in my opinion. Firstly Chen mentioned that he has no plans to chop off hardware unless it’s completely necessary. Also, according to recent statistics hardware shipments are up 15 % and actual sell through should be higher I was reading. Unfortunately I don’t have the source so take with a grain of salt but if those numbers are any indication of the hardware division I don’t see them chunking that off either. Your most recent comment below makes more sense as to the reasoning of everything falling under a unified “umbrella”

    • hoo dat

      If they’re off loading hardware then they’re going a very strange way about it; they have the Passport launching in September and the Classic in October with the Z20 (Z10 replacement) and Z50 (Z30 replacement) on the books with probable launches early next year. The Classic should sell reasonably well just because of the form factor and the reintroduction of “the belt” but I would be very surprised to see BlackBerry pursuing any sales of the hardware division without giving the Passport a serious crack at the whip, at least 8 months or so. Judging by the interest just in enterprise alone it should earn its keep. It wouldn’t surprise me to find BlackBerry keeping hardware altogether judging by the way things look.

    • Stephen_81

      BlackBerry has already “cleaved off” the hardware they need to cleave off, the partnership with Foxconn shelters them from the hardware pains they had in Calendar 2013. They have little value in selling off hardware because they have outsourcing partners, Selling off hardware would be basically getting rid of a handful of Engineers, but they then lose control over the small but alive QWERTY market that they now own.

    • hoo dat

      Agreed, although they still have significant manufacturing facilities in North America. From what I can gather lower end BlackBerrys, the “Curves” of the range for want of a better description, such as the Z3, the Z10 and Q5 replacements, will be handled by Foxconn, while the higher end, the Passport, Classic and Z50 will still be built by BlackBerry. People can think what you want about BlackBerry, but they know how to build a decent piece of kit.

    • Stephen_81

      I very much doubt that a Z50 will be made by BlackBerry. it makes sense for the Passport and Classic to be made by BlackBerry, and the Curve / Q5/Q10 to be made by existing 3rd party manufacturing contracts or internally.

      Foxconn isn’t known for keyboard devices, but for the All touch Z50 it would be wise to have foxconn build it, they can build premium as well as enter level touchscreens with their supply chain. BlackBerry MUST tap into that for touchscreens as that is a market they are competing on price and spec far more than keyboard devices.

    • midnightdoom

      Pretty sure it was confirmed a long time ago by Crackberry that Foxconn is handling “budget” phones, and premium phones will still be made in North America, that would include the z30 replacement. BlackBerry won’t be getting rid of hardware like you stated, why release all these phones coming if they were, Chen already stated he is not aiming to beat apple and Samsung.. they don’t need to be #1 again to be successful, as long as they don’t over produce like they did z10

    • hoo dat

      I’m not too sure what you mean when you suggest that I stated BlackBerry were getting rid of hardware, in fact, I explicitly said that I very much doubt they will in a previous post. But that doesn’t mean the hardware division will go on in perpetuity, Chen has stated that nothing is sacred and if he can’t turn hardware around it will either be closed or spun off, he still stands by that statement. BlackBerry hardware is not out of the wood yet, it still has to prove itself with the Passport and especially the Classic, if either or both of them fail then Chen has a decision to make.

    • midnightdoom

      Honestly I do not know now, I think I clicked the wrong name maybe lol. None the less I agree I don’t think they have plans to get rid of hardware so quickly unless all govs etc don’t want it anymore. Here’s hoping the passport classic and z3 do well. Cause i wouldn’t mind a replacement for my z30 in a few years

    • salsero69

      It seems like they’re trying to make their technologies a lot more visible and their potential a lot more fierce by bundling this way.

    • Superion

      BlackBerry really needs to not only show that it is currently a leader in many of the things it does, but it needs to be a fast innovator, and agile to position it’s self for future growth in the areas it is looking to expand into or grow it’s position in like healthcare, automotive, IoT. So it makes sense to get these parts of the company aligned to collaborate under under a single vision.

    • salsero69

      Totally agree. They need to not only react but also innovate faster than previously.

  • Syaz

    I really wonder how they’re paying the salaries for all of these new hires… They have a ton of high profile people heading these departments now.

    • Columbo

      By my rough count they’ve let go more high-level execs than they’ve brought on since Chen came in. So that’s probably how. Anyway, if you’re going to succeed you need the right people leading, let’s hope that’s the case.

    • Syaz

      A fine point. It would be interesting to hear their next earnings call… I hope someone asks about salaries, etc.

    • Stephen_81

      Why would anyone ask about salaries? Any material salaries would be defined. But for the most part the executives will be paid in line with the industry and that is to be expected.

      When I’m investing in a company I look more to the stock options new hires are taking on vs any salary they are taking, If they are taking on big stock options they are coming in expecting they can help grow the company.

  • Welcom to Dr. Sandeep and lets keep the BlackBerry train moving 🙂 All the infotainment wars that are about to begin and QNX will be the underlying OS for all them. Apple already sits atop of QNX for their infotainment system so only big player next is Android.

    • Aaron Hoyland

      Which infotainment system are you referring to? The Apple TV runs a heavily-customized version of iOS.

    • Their CarPlay runs in tandem with QNX from all the articles I have read, sorry maybe sits atop was a bad word.. but to make it work with the car you are using QNX. Everything in the car runs QNX and any infotainment system will have to communicate with QNX to talk to anything in the car like screens etc. So without QNX you would not have CarPlay.

      Search iMore for QNX and CarPlay

    • barrist

      Props to Blackberry then to helping Apple and Google dominate another area of the industry then. lol

    • LOL yes but the licensing will always be there to pay for the connection to QNX system which will control the car. So in a way QNX will always get a piece of the pie no matter what device connects to the car, other then BlackBerry of course… your fees are waved till anit competitve stops them

    • Sorry post is on hold because I included a link. hopefully will get approved soon.

    • Superion

      He’s referring to automotive infotainment systems. He’s saying that leading Automakers and OEMs are using QNX Car Platform to build their infotainment systems and that the efforts from Apple and Google are merely projections on top of the underlying systems of the car, which for 6 out of 10 cars on the road today, is QNX based.

    • Yes what he said LOL still waiting for my link to be approved from iMore that says exactly that just more winded 🙂

  • Francois Roy

    Revert back to mobilesyrup 2.0 this layout is a mess

    • Can you give some constructive criticism. What is it your don’t like? If you can give some more details I am sure the guys (and gal) would like to listen to reason why you don’t like the new site design.

  • Superion

    Wow, nice to see a BlackBerry post without any of the usual BlackBerry hate nonsense in the comments. Maybe some people are finally realizing that while BlackBerry may not be their smartphone maker of choice anymore, they do allot more then just make smartphones anyway.

    • 100% agree

    • jackjiarocks

      John Chen is the real deal

  • Pullamdeep Singhprachis

    let me translate for those who have no clue:
    “prep this pig for sale.”

    • LOL we were wondering how long it would take one of you to try and kill the discussion…

  • gommer strike

    That’s cool, to be focusing exclusively on Business. I think Blackberry should do IT solutions on top of that too – they have the know-how and it’d be kinda great to be a fuller solutions provider. Imagine BB coming in to configure your BES server, integrating everything together, and even assessing your network at a whole…your storage, etc etc.

    I would like to see them not even care about the consumer side anymore, and not even bother with competing in that space. Strictly business and build the aura that Blackberry’s for serious business people and everything else is just a toy.

    • J-Ro

      I think that is the end goal. They can’t complete ditch the consumer side overnight because of share holders but slowly they can put more focus towards business and let everyone forget they were even consumer facing to begin with,

      Than they can make a great device every couple years and focus on software exclusively. This whole spec war nonsense is as tiring as it is expensive.

    • midnightdoom

      Yah pretty sure that is what Chen hinted to, business business business, but still allow the consumer followers to still buy it.. then if things pan out money wise, then take a stab at consumer again, but still mainly focus on business

    • gommer strike

      weeeeell my thinking is more along the lines of, yes focus entirely on business, but there is no need to price the phone just so regular joes can afford it. On the contrary – when you see all the C-level guys(CEO’s, CFO, CIO’s, etc) all using premium BB smartphones, it sends an extremely strong message.

      If you’re not within the inside, you’re on the outside. Human beings want what they see others(of high status and power) use. That’s what BB needs to capture. There is no need to make the phone affordable in the slightest. If you have to ask “how much”, then you’re not the target market, sorry.

    • gommer strike

      That’s why, the sooner they totally just get out of consumer and build the brand and image again – the sooner they would have no problem charging premium prices for their phones again(because the thinking will be, well these phones are meant for serious business people and thus priced outside the reach of regular Joe/Jane on purpose).

      Businesses wouldn’t have any issue shelling out the big bucks for premium BB smartphones for their executives and account managers. People want what they see other people of high status have.