Canadian Manufacturing

BlackBerry inks long-term licensing deal with smartphone maker TCL

BlackBerry will license its security software, service suite and other brand assets to TCL, which will build and sell the phones



WATERLOO, Ont.—BlackBerry says it will license its software to an electronics company that will make and sell BlackBerry-branded phones that it can sell in all but five nations.

The Ontario-based tech company announced the partnership with TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd., which designed and manufactured BlackBerry’s latest two smartphones, the DTEK60 and its predecessor the DTEK50.

BlackBerry will license its security software, service suite and other brand assets to TCL, which will design, manufacture, sell and provide customer support for future smartphones with BlackBerry’s name on them. The company said it’s a long-term deal.

The arrangement excludes the Asian countries India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. In at least one of those locations, Indonesia, BlackBerry already has a similar agreement in place with a telecom joint venture.

The company announced in September that it would stop making hardware after struggling to return its once profitable smartphone business into the black, and would shift focus to its growing security software operations.

Blackberry reports its third-quarter results for its 2017 financial year next week.

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