updated 08:56 am EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
New division encompasses 44,000 patents, three major technologies
BlackBerry has spun off a new business unit, collecting the majority of its unique technologies under one roof -- the BlackBerry Technology Solutions (BTS) division. Dr. Sandeep Chennakeshu will lead the new group, which encompasses embedded software group QNX, "Internet of Things" division Project Ion, cryptography division Certicom, RF antenna tuning group Paratek, and 44,000 associated patents.
Dr. Chennakeshu has been engaged in research, product development, IP creation/licensing and general management in the wireless, electronics and semiconductor industry for over 25 years, including serving as president of Ericsson Mobile Platforms and CTO of Sony-Ericsson. He is a named inventor on 73 patents, and a Fellow of the IEEE.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen said of Chennakeshu and the new division that "I am very pleased that Sandeep has joined BlackBerry to lead BTS. QNX, Certicom and Paratek are strategic and technically-innovative assets with significant potential to address the much wider global markets for secure, reliable communications and embedded applications." He added that "combining all these assets into a single business unit, led by Sandeep, will create operational synergies and new revenue streams, furthering our turnaround strategy."
It is unclear why these assets need a separate division, as presumably they were functioning properly under the over-arching BlackBerry brand. While it is possible that Chen is aligning the department for an acquisition of same, it is more likely that BlackBerry is looking to divest itself of unprofitable divisions. Under that scenario, the hardware manufacturing department could be sold to an interested buyer, along with not more than 70 percent of the company's patents.