BlackBerry cuts itself in half

BlackBerry just booted up the ol’ Bold 9700 and sent a heartfelt break-up text… to itself.  

What happened: BlackBerry announced its splitting into two separate public companies next March as it looks to stoke new investor interest and chart a clearer path forward. 

Catch-up: Since it stopped making smartphones in 2016, Blackberry has become a strange, Frankenstein-y mish-mash of a company, with businesses focused on internet-connected tech (particularly in-car software), cybersecurity, and device management software. 

  • It also made money from patent licensing, but that has effectively stopped since it sold most of its legacy smartphone patents for up to US$900 million back in March. 

Out of all of these, the in-car software biz has been the only real winner — it’s projected to deliver 20% annual growth for the foreseeable future, and its tech is used by all the world’s top-ten automakers. It will now get a chance to stand on its own from the other businesses.  

Why it matters: Though it’s become a cautionary tale (but also briefly a meme stock), BlackBerry remains a pillar of Canada’s tech sector. While it won’t ever return to its CrackBerry highs, the break-up could give it a much-needed shot in the arm.—QH