BlackBerry acquires AI and cybersecurity firm Cylance

BlackBerry has announced it will acquire Cylance, an artificial intelligence and cybersecurity company, for $1.4bn (£1.1bn) as part of efforts to expand its autonomous car software unit QNX.

“Cylances leadership in artifical intelligence and cybersecurity will immediately complement our entire portfolio, UEM (BlackBerrys content management platform) and QNX in particular,” said John Chen, executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry. “We are very excited to onboard their team and leverage our newly combined expertise. We believe adding Cylances capabilities to our trusted advantages in privacy, secure mobility and embedded systems will make BlackBerry Spark indispensable to realising the Enterprise of Things.”

Cylance is a pioneer in applying artificial intelligence, algorithmic science, and machine learnign to cybersecurity software that has proven highly effective and predicting and preventing known and unknown threats to fixed endpoints. Founded in 2012, the firm boasts over 3,500 active enterprise customers, including more than 20 per cent of the Fortune 500. 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.

“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 BlackBerrys global reach,” said Stuart McClure, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Cylance. “We ar eager to leverage BlackBerrys mobility and security strengths to adapt our advanced AI technology to deliver a single platform.”

BlackBerry has increasingly focused on enterprise software in the past few years, as its star has faded in the smartphone manufacturing area. The company produces software platforms to manage mobile devices for corporate use, as well as providing software for IoT devices, autonomous cars and other emerging technologies.