The AP (3/30, Noronha) reports Ford Motor plans to hire around 400 employees from Blackberry as part of significant “new investments in Canada that include a connected-vehicle research center in Ottawa.” Ford said the Ottawa research center will be “part of a $500 million Canadian (US $376 million) investment.” Ford said it will hire about 300 engineers in Canada and an additional 100 hardware and software engineers in the US to support Canadian operations. BlackBerry spokeswoman Sarah McKinney said the move will allow the company to focus on its new strategy, the “pivot from hardware to software.”
Additionally, the AFP (3/30) reports Ford also plans to “increase staff at facilities in Windsor and Oakville, Ontario, developing new powertrain technologies, alternative fuels and lightweight materials for use in cars and trucks, as well as technology to capture industrial emissions and convert them into fuels.” According to Ford, reports Reuters (3/30), the new employees, “many of whom are coming from BlackBerry Ltd’s (BB.TO) shuttered handset business, will work on infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, handset integration, security, driver assist features and autonomous vehicles.”
Bloomberg News (3/30, De Vynck) reports that last October, Blackberry and Ford announced a formal partnership to develop car-related technologies. Though the deal is centered upon “connected-car features, like being able to send software downloads to a vehicle remotely,” there is opportunity “for the two to collaborate on self-driving technology.” BlackBerry’s QNX division, which developed the operating system behind Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment and connectivity platform, will facilitate auto technology, reports Fortune (3/30, Korosec). The piece notes, however, that “no engineers from its Blackberry QNX division were part of the transfer” with Ford.
In an emailed statement, a Blackberry spokesperson said, “The BlackBerry QNX engineers continue to develop core technology for the automotive industry…This transfer allows Ford to double its connectivity engineering workforce and accelerate its efforts to build in-house solutions. As for the employees transferred, they have the opportunity to put their expertise to work for a leader in the automotive sector. This is a win-win for both companies as well as employees.”