BlackBerry's $1.4 bn purchase of Cylance last week raised various question for partners and the industry alike. For many, Blackberry is still heavily associated with its rectangular business smartphones of the 2000s. What is it doing buying a next-generation endpoint protection vendor, and what will the deal mean for Cylance's partners?
Here we attempt to address five of the key questions partners will have in the wake of the deal.
1) What does a 'smartphone maker' want with Cylance?
BlackBerry is best known for making noughties-era smartphones, but - after it narrowly avoided bankruptcy in 2013 - the brand has spent recent years reinventing itself as an enterprise software player under CEO John Chen.
In fact, BlackBerry stopped manufacturing its famously rectangular devices two years ago - although it still licenses the brand.
Cylance may be BlackBerry's biggest acquisition to date - depleting its $2.4bn cash reserves by more than half - but it follows on from two other purchases it made in the cyber security arena in 2015, namely Good for $425m and Watchdox for $100m.
Adam Davison, director at Reading, UK-based BlackBerry distributor Cloud Distribution, said that the breadth of Blackberry's security prowess may surprise some people.
"Over the last few years BlackBerry has done a brilliant job of transitioning from a handset supplier to a mainstream cyber security player, who does everything from penetration testing and security health checks all the way through to EMM software for securing the mobile," Davison noted. "They now do two-factor authentication. This gives them and their channel a really good cyber security endpoint play covering everything from mobile to desktop to laptop."
Sean Remnant, CTO of Farnborough, UK-based Cylance distributor Ignition, said the identity of Cylance's acquirer came "as a bit of a surprise to us all".
"I think that the channel and distribution probably forgot about BlackBerry when there was the demise of their phones and probably haven't kept up with them since. But having a look at their portfolio, Cylance is quite a good fit for them," he said.
Continue onto next page for more on why Cylance is selling up now, and what Blackberry will do with Cylance
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