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March 31, 2017

Ford nabs 400 engineers from Blackberry – report

Ford reportedly has transferred 400 workers from Ontario-based BlackBerry to help develop wireless technology.

Ford reportedly has transferred 400 workers from Ontario-based BlackBerry to help develop wireless technology.

A Blackberry spokeswoman told Bloomberg the shift doubles the number of connected car engineers at Ford and will help the US company build its own wireless products in-house while allowing Blackberry to reduce costs as it refocuses on software instead of phones.

"The move enables us to focus all our resources on the new strategy," the spokeswoman told Bloomberg.

BlackBerry last November announced an agreement had been signed with Ford for expanded use of the software specialist's QNX and security software.

"The deal signifies an acceleration in BlackBerry's pivot from hardware to software in support of the automaker's goal of providing connected vehicles and mobility to its customers," Blackberry said in a statement at the time.

None of the employees transferred to Ford came from QNX, the BlackBerry spokeswoman told Bloomberg.

The report noted some Canadian employees involved in the move launched a class action lawsuit against BlackBerry earlier this year, alleging the company didn't provide them with a proper termination deal as part of the transfer. BlackBerry has said the lawsuit lacks merit and is contesting it.

Ford on Thursday announced it was expanding Canadian research and development with an additional C$500m spend, with financial help from provincial and federal governments. It would add around 400 software and hardware engineers (300 in Canada) and plans to establish a new Ottawa Research and Engineering Centre.

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