Briefing

Ottawa to give $40 million to BlackBerry for connected car technology in Kanata, Ont.

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The award from the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is part of a $310.5-million effort to improve the company’s QNX driver-assistance software, and to build automated vehicle concept cars. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the project will create 800 new jobs. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: The new project cements BlackBerry’s shift from hardware and mobile to software and connected devices. The company acquired QNX in 2010, and originally used its software for tablet and mobile operating systems. But in its current car-focused incarnation, the platform is now one of the company’s most important business lines—in December 2018, John Chen, BlackBerry CEO, said the 23 per cent revenue increase last quarter in its BlackBerry Technology Solutions division was “driven primarily” by QNX. Today’s announcement also tips the SIF’s scales in favour of Canadian companies. On Monday, The Logic reported that just over half of the program’s funding had been allocated to foreign subsidiaries, but that number falls to 48.16 per cent with the BlackBerry award.