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To most people, BlackBerry is the company that made those phones that were cool a few years back, before going into the kind of free-fall that would’ve been comic if there hadn’t been so many jobs in play. What a lot of those people don’t realise however is that BlackBerry made at least one sensible purchase on its way down, in the shape of QNX.
The embedded OS pretty owns the in-car infotainment space at the moment, with the likes of BMW, Chrysler, and GM all using it. Add in the fact that that it place nicely with both Apple and Google’s in-car efforts and you can see why it’s one of the few aspects of BlackBerry’s business that currently seems safe.
It seems a little strange then that the Waterloo-based company would sell its German R&D facility to Volkswagen. The thing is, as Jalopnik points out, it actually makes sense, and for both companies too.
As the automotive news site notes, if BlackBerry has any realistic hope of achieving its stated goal of returning to profitability by 2016, then it has to shed weight wherever it can. By selling to VW, it achieves precisely that and, at the same time, frees itself up to focus on broadening the scope of QNX.
For its part, Volkswagen gets a whole load of engineers for its Infotainment division, all of them already well versed in the ways of QNX — which runs in pretty much everything from the Golf right through to the Audi R8.
The sale also can’t have hurt the relationship between the Canadian tech company and VW. And with Apple and Google doing their level best to get into every make of car they possibly can, it also gives it a certain degree of power over the two companies that effectively sank it in the smartphone space.