BlackBerry Adds AI, Cybersecurity With Cylance Acquisition

Endpoint security provider Cylance is being purchased by BlackBerry for $1.4 billion in cash plus the assumption of unvested employee incentive awards.

… Chris Gonsalves, The 2112 Group’s vice president of research, tells Channel Partners that while the timing of the acquisition was unexpected, the substance of it isn’t all that surprising.

“BlackBerry, out of necessity, has had to make a pretty big pivot to something other than their legacy mobile device business, and a big part of that something is their Spark platform for embedded systems,” he said. “Say what you want about their now-museum quality phones, but they were always decent at security and they’ve made some significant promises about the Spark roadmap including advanced threat detection and remediation technologies. Cylance will give them the juice to make good on those promises.”

On the other hand, Gonsalves said a future as the baked-in AI and machine-learning underpinning of BlackBerry’s Spark “probably doesn’t sound so great to Cylance partners, who were doing just fine with Cylance’s highly regarded next-gen endpoint and server protection products, particularly since Cylance is so channel friendly.”

“But there’s a way all parties can win with this deal, at least in the short term,” he said. “Cylance running as a subsidiary of cash-rich BlackBerry can carry on with aggressive innovation of its solutions even as its tech gets integrated into Spark. That arrangement also gives BlackBerry entry into a whole new enterprise market, one that might be receptive to its mobile platform security messaging.”

For now, Cylance partners should see this as a “big endorsement of the vendor’s technology and, hopefully, a harbinger of continued innovation,” Gonsalves said. …

Written by Edward Gately

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