BlackBerry signs deal with Ford to Develop Car Software

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Blackberry is looking to move into self-driven technology after it recently struck a deal with Ford Motor Co. to develop automotive software. Ford has been developing increasingly automated vehicles, and Blackberry’s deal will help move the company venture beyond the smartphone market.

The deal with Ford is the first BlackBerry has done directly with a major automaker, though it currently sells its technology to auto industry suppliers. Ford has been using software built by BlackBerry’s QNX unit for its Sync3 in-car infotainment system, but previously bought it through Panasonic Corp., QNX general manager John Wall said. The deal cuts out the middleman and will let BlackBerry work on more software products with Ford.

Ford has been using software built by BlackBerry’s QNX unit for its Sync3 in-car infotainment system, but previously bought it through Panasonic Corp., QNX general manager John Wall said. The deal cuts out the middleman and will let BlackBerry work on more software products with Ford, Wall said.

QNX is almost exclusively used for in-car infotainment systems, but the company has been talking up the potential of self-driving car software, an area Ford itself has been investing in heavily. The Canadian company has worked with startups to develop technology that brakes a car automatically when it spots something in its path.

“QNX is a natural fit,” Wall said.

BlackBerry has held up QNX as a key driver of future growth as the company pivots away from phone hardware, and said the fact that it’s used in more than 60 million cars worldwide gives it the expertise to continue playing a major role in automotive software.

Blackberry is betting its future on expanding sales of software products, including to automakers and other manufacturers, after largely ceding the smartphone market to rivals including Apple, Alphabet’s Google and Samsung Electronics.

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