BlackBerry boosts security assets with Germany's SecuSmart
Companies worked together to develop phone technology for the German government
BlackBerry has bought German anti-eavesdropping firm SecuSmart in a move to bulk up its security assets.
Chief executive John Chen says buying the company will address growing concerns about threats to individual privacy and national security.
"We are always improving our security solutions to keep up with the growing complexity of enterprise mobility, with devices being used for more critical tasks and to store more critical information, and security attacks becoming more sophisticated," Chen said Tuesday in a news release.
Voice and data encryption
SecuSmart provides high-level voice and data encryption for governments, businesses and telecommunications service providers.
The acquisition still faces some conditions, including regulatory approval, said BlackBerry.
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BlackBerry has previously worked with SecuSmart to develop special technology for phones that were distributed to several German government agencies, as well as German government ministries and leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"We see significant opportunities to introduce Secusmart's solutions to more of BlackBerry's government and enterprise customers around the world," said Secusmart managing director Hans-Christoph Quelle.
'Solid move' analyst says
Independent technology analyst Carmi Levy said the acquisition marks a step forward for BlackBerry as it tries to launch a return to profitability by focusing on its loyal enterprise customers, rather than the more fickle consumer market.
"In and of itself it doesn't complete BlackBerry's security road map, but it is a solid move that sets the stage quite nicely for additional, similarly-themed moves," Levy said in an email.
"As a key pillar of its fast-coalescing security strategy, it serves an important purpose as both an indicator of how much the company has changed since John Chen came aboard, and where he intends to take it next."
The acquisition is the latest move from Chen, who was hired last year to reshape BlackBerry, cut costs and lead an effort to find a better footing in the highly competitive tech sector.
Since joining the company in November, Chen has hired several executives from software maker Sybase, a struggling company he helped reshape into a profitable operation focused on mobile business technology.
Shares of BlackBerry rose 10 cents to $10.85 shortly after open on the Toronto Stock Exchange.