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Looking back at BlackBerry’s rapid descent into ignominy, there are plenty of could have beens. The biggest of all them all — interest in a buyout from Lenovo — was long dismissed as rumour. It turns out though that the Chinese tech giant may actually have been interested in acquiring the embattled Canadian mobile manufacturer.
As AllThingsD reports, at one stage, Lenovo actually signed a non-disclosure agreement that allowed it to see BlackBerry’s books with an eye toward acquisition. But, reports the Globe and Mail, the deal was hamstrung by the Canadian government’s fears around security.
Lawmakers apparently feared that allowing BlackBerry to sell to a Chinese company would have consequences for national security. While that might sound a little paranoid, it’s worth bearing in mind that BlackBerry’s secure networks handle hundreds of millions of encrypted messages, many of which come from government agencies.
“We have been pretty consistent that the message is Canada is open to foreign investment and investment from China in particular but not at the cost of compromising national security,” an anonymous Canadian government source told the publication. “I don’t think anybody should be surprised that we would have concerns like that.”
Up until the point at which the government intervened, the newspaper says, Lenovo was pretty keen on making an offer. If the deal had gone through, it could have had some interesting consequences. BlackBerry’s investors probably would have walked away with more money, but Lenovo would have also had a much more global customer base to play with. Right now, the Chinese company is going through a bit of a boom period.
It’s the number one PC manufacturer and is also climbing the smartphone rankings. The latter though is largely down to sales in its native China and BlackBerry would have given it easy access into emerging market countries in particular.