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August 19, 2014

BlackBerry launches new Internet of Things-focused business group

Troubled manufacturer also aiming to protect key assets and patent portfolio.

By Vinod

BlackBerry has announced the launch of a new business unit as it looks to refocus its attentions away from the smartphone business.

BlackBerry Technology Solutions (BTS) will comprise of several of the company’s most valuable assets, including its Internet of Things initiative, Project Ion, and its QNX embedded software.

The group will also be used to protect the company’s copyright portfolio, forming a central base for BlackBerry to oversee its 44,000 patents, as well as its Certicom (cryptography applications), and Paratek (RF antenna tuning) products.

The new unit will be headed up by Dr. Sandeep Chennakeshu, a veteran of the technology licensing space, whose previous roles include serving as President of Ericsson Mobile Platforms and CTO of Sony-Ericsson.

"I am very pleased that Sandeep has joined BlackBerry to lead BTS," said BlackBerry CEO John Chen.

"Our broad global portfolio of 44,000 patents is of value to several industry segments. Combining all these assets into a single business unit led by Sandeep will create operational synergies and new revenue streams, furthering our turnaround strategy."

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The news is the latest in a series of corporate restructuring moves for BlackBerry, which has reduced its workforce by around 60% over the past few years as its smartphone business has fallen in the face of increased competition. A study by Strategy Analytics earlier this month found that just 0.6% of smartphones across the world are BlackBerry devices, far behind rivals such as Apple and Android.

Chen, who took over as CEO last November, has stated, that the company has now finished its overhaul and is looking to the future with a range of new products and services, as well as an increased focus on specific markets, including Indonesia.

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