BlackBerry sells German R&D assets to Volkswagen
Company will keep remaining automotive efforts under the QNX unit
BlackBerry has agreed to sell its German-based research and development assets to a subsidiary of Volkswagen that deals with how modern cars interact with the driver and the world around them.
About 200 BlackBerry employees in Bochum, Germany, will be transferred to Volkswagen Infotainment, along with the company's leases and real estate assets.
The VW unit currently makes interactive technology built into vehicle dashboards so that cars can interact with everything from a driver's cellphone to other vehicles on the road.
"Connectivity will be a key feature of the car of the future. Many customers are expecting connected vehicles of a new dimension in terms of convenience and road safety," Volkswagen spokesman Heinz-Jakob Neusser said. "In order to be able to meet these challenges it is necessary for us to broaden and expand our options through additional know-how."
The transaction doesn't mean BlackBerry is getting entirely out of the automotive game, however.
BlackBerry has centralized most of its vehicle connectivity development at its QNX Software Systems division in Ottawa.
QNX develops technology for cars and trucks, including dashboard systems that connect directly with a driver's mobile phone and outside networks, but is also working on systems for the health care industry and mining companies.
The asset sale comes as BlackBerry is working to cut costs and focus on the core smartphone business in order to return to profitability.