BlackBerry plans to buy AI security player Cylance for $1.4bn

16 Nov 2018372 Views

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BlackBerry is focused on securing the enterprise of things.

Canadian smartphone technology player BlackBerry has agreed to acquire AI and infosec player Cylance for $1.4bn in cash.

The deal is expected to close by the end of February 2019, pending the necessary regulatory approvals.

‘We believe adding Cylance’s capabilities to our trusted advantages in privacy, secure mobility and embedded systems will make BlackBerry Spark indispensable to realising the enterprise of things’
– JOHN CHEN

The acquisition is a crucial part of the narrative that has seen BlackBerry, once the doyen of the smartphone world, pivot in the direction of enterprise security for the internet of things (IoT), or ‘enterprise of things’ as the company puts it.

“Cylance’s leadership in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity will immediately complement our entire portfolio, UEM [Unified Endpoint Manager] and QNX [a Unix-like real-time operating system] in particular,” said John Chen, chair and CEO of BlackBerry.

“We are very excited to onboard their team and leverage our newly combined expertise. We believe adding Cylance’s capabilities to our trusted advantages in privacy, secure mobility and embedded systems will make BlackBerry Spark indispensable to realising the enterprise of things.”

Mobility and security

BlackBerry Spark is a next-generation secure chip-to-edge communications platform that will feature in a range of applications, including industry 4.0 and transport.

Cylance is a California-founded infosec player founded in 2012 by Stuart McClure and Ryan Permeh. It applies AI, algorithmic science and machine learning to cybersecurity software that predicts and prevents known and unknown threats. It has more than 3,500 enterprise customers, including 20pc of the Fortune 500.

“Our highly skilled cybersecurity workforce and market leadership in next-generation endpoint solutions will be a perfect fit within BlackBerry where our customers, teams and technologies will gain immediate benefits from BlackBerry’s global reach,” said Stuart McClure, co-founder, chair and CEO of Cylance. “We are eager to leverage BlackBerry’s mobility and security strengths to adapt our advanced AI technology to deliver a single platform.”

According to Gartner’s most recent Internet of Things Backbone Survey, security was cited as the top barrier to IoT success (35pc), with privacy concerns (25pc), and potential risks and liabilities (25pc) also in the top five.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com