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BlackBerry bets on AI and cybersecurity with $1.4 billion deal for Cylance

18 November 2018

Cylance will operate as a separate business within BlackBerry. It has raised $327 million in venture-capital funding, according to PitchBook, and was recently considering filing for an initial public offering, several sources told Business Insider.

BlackBerry, once a prominent name in mobile hardware, had to find a new niche in the technology industry after the smartphone made its mobile devices antiquated technology.

According to BlackBerry CEO and executive chairman John Chen, the purchase will allow the smartphone-cum-mobile security vendor to get its security solutions onto the phones of Cylance customers, while building out its channel trough Cylance's 100 percent channel model.

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BlackBerry Ltd raised its bets on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity on Friday with the US$1.4 billion purchase of USA machine-learning specialist Cylance.

"We are eager to leverage BlackBerry's mobility and security strengths to adapt our advanced AI technology to deliver a single platform". "We believe adding Cylance's capabilities to our trusted advantages in privacy, secure mobility and embedded systems will make BlackBerry Spark indispensable to realizing the enterprise of things". The company software resides mainly on these devices and is merely created to work even when they are not connected to a network and without consuming much more power.

Beyond the immediate opportunities, Chen cited Cylance becoming part of the combination of BlackBerry's Enterprise of Things platform, Spark, as another area the combined vendors will focus on. The companies will need to satisfy customary closing conditions, but hope to have the deal closed by the end of BlackBerry's fiscal year in February 2019.

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"We have 120 million cars using BlackBerry technology, in particular QNX", Chen said on a conference call. With a Gartner survey identifying security as one of the top barriers to IoT adoption, firms focused on strengthening protections, especially for enterprise users, are likely to see growth over the next five years.

Privately owned Cylance uses machine learning to preempt security breach before they occur.

Cylance was founded in 2012 by former McAfee/Intel employees Ryan Permeh and Stuart McClure.

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BlackBerry bets on AI and cybersecurity with $1.4 billion deal for Cylance