BlackBerry has signed an agreement to license its security technology for mobile phones called BlackBerry Secure to Punkt, a Switzerland-based consumer electronics company. As part of the deal, Punkt will incorporate BlackBerry’s security technology into a wide variety of commercial products, which the company says will be connected to home and enterprise networks, suggesting that beyond mobile devices, Punkt will also embed the security solution in a range of Internet of Things devices. It doesn’t come as a surprise, though, after BlackBerry announced in April last year that it had planned to expand its security licensing to other areas beyond the mobile device category such as wearables, medical devices, POS terminals, and appliances. The addition of IoT devices will be a welcome development.
BlackBerry’s focus on security solutions is part of the company’s broader goal of drifting away from building actual mobile devices and instead shift its resources to the development of enterprise security products, an indication that it is abandoning the smartphone segment. The move just makes sense given the company’s poor financial results due to the lackluster performance of its hardware business, which prompted the company to shut it down in 2016. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s the end of the road for the BlackBerry smartphone brand, as the hardware is now manufactured by TCL in China as well as PT BB Merah Putih in Indonesia and Optiemus in India. Then last year, the company’s Chief Executive Officer John Chen made a commitment to generate huge profits for BlackBerry by driving the company back to where it started: developing security and enterprise software applications. Part of that shift in focus is to license its security solutions to third-party phone manufacturers, allowing BlackBerry to continue capitalizing on its smartphone brand while putting more of its investments in a profitable business.
Also last year, BlackBerry’s Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard revealed the company’s goal of providing security to enterprises and grow its BlackBerry Secure brand as the company shifts toward the so-called “Enterprise of Things” segment. By licensing BlackBerry Secure to third-party companies, the Waterloo, Canada-based software allows product manufacturers to integrate a security solution consisting of BlackBerry’s proprietary software and applications into their offerings.