BlackBerry has added another tragic chapter to the decline that is its mobile business. Today BlackBerry announced that it is selling its highly prized patents for $600million. Its buyer was “Catapult IP Innovations Inc.,” which is a brand new entity that BlackBerry calls “a special purpose vehicle formed to acquire the BlackBerry patent assets.”
BlackBerry states that it is patented for “mobile devices, messaging and wireless networking.” These patents pertain to BlackBerry’s mobile phones, QWERTY keyboards, and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). BlackBerry has recently used the patents (which included ideas such as muting a thread in a message and showing notifications in an icon with a number) to fight Facebook Messenger in 2018. This is not a new thing for BlackBerry as it is an old hand in the smartphone patent battles. When BlackBerry was still known as RIM it was going after firms such as Handspring as well as Good Technology in the early 2000s.
In the event that the title “Catapult IP Innovations” didn’t make it clear, using BlackBerry patents could be the most obvious consequence of this agreement. According to the announcement, Catapult’s financing in the agreement of $600m is simply a $450 million guaranteed even with bad credit loan that will be handed over the BlackBerry as cash. The rest of the $150 million is a promissory note that has the first installment due within three years. This implies that Catapult has become a brand new business with a lot of debt but no product as well as no money flow. In the event that the company’s plan doesn’t work, Instantly Goes into bankruptcy, Catapult needs to start developing a way to make money from BlackBerry’s patents which could mean suing anyone they believe is in violation of its recently acquired assets.
Alongside Windows Mobile and Nokia, BlackBerry was among the biggest players in the mobile market prior to when the iPhone changed the whole market in 2007. BlackBerry didn’t completely overhaul its OS until 2013 when it launched the touch-focused BlackBerry 10. OS, however, by that point it was too late. The company halted BlackBerry OS development in 2015 when it introduced its first Android smartphone BlackBerry Priv, which was BlackBerry Priv. BlackBerry Priv. The next year, BlackBerry gave up on phones hardware development also, when it decided to end the smartphone market completely. The few remaining users using BlackBerry OS phones had to give up accessibility access to the servers of BlackBerry by the beginning of 2022.
This brings us to the time that is “Zombie BlackBerry,” in which the brand that died licenses its name to a variety of third-party companies who attempt to bring back the glory times. The first one was TCL which sold “BlackBerry” hardware QWERTY phones and embarrassingly changed slab phones. TCL kept this strategy in place until 2020 when it failed on the opportunity to renew the license deal. In the following year, a new company called ” OnwardMobility” acquired this BlackBerry brand and said it would launch a smartphone in 2021. However, the launch was put off until the following year.
BlackBerry’s primary business today is around car infotainment, and the QNX operating system is a preferred choice for car manufacturers and enterprise security.