Out with the old: BlackBerry looks to buy cybersecurity firm Cylance for $1.4B

BlackBerry is looking to get out of the smartphone shadow, as it acquires Cylance, an AI-based company that specializes in autonomous vehicle technology.

November 19, 2018

BlackBerry will acquire Cylance, an artificial intelligence and cybersecurity company, for $1.4B in cash as it looks to make software for the ‘internet-of-things’ era. Its first stop? Software for next-generation autonomous cars.

The Canadian technology company said the acquisition would enable it to add artificial intelligence capabilities to its existing software products.

Out from cell phones’ shadow

This is BlackBerry’s largest acquisition to date: The early aughts smartphone juggernaut desperately wants the world to know that it is more than just an analog keypad.

Bloomberg reports that the tech company threw in the towel on smartphones in 2016 after realizing it could no longer keep up with Apple and Samsung. It has since shifted to selling software to manage mobile devices and focusing on emerging areas like autonomous cars.

Cylance has been killing it

California-based Cylance develops AI-based products to prevent corporate cyber attacks. The company said in June that its annual revenue in 2018 was about $130m and was growing at close to 90% with more than 3.5k businesses using its products.

According to Business Insider (paywall), analysts have viewed the company as an IPO candidate and the business has raised over $320m from firms like Blackstone, Insight Venture Partners, and others.

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