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RIM Acquires QNX Software Unit from Harman International - RIM Wants a Piece of the Automotive Infotainment Market?

By Kevin Michaluk on 9 Apr 2010 09:17 am EDT
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Here's an interesting piece of news to kick off a Friday. RIM has just announced the acquisition of QNX Software, a division owned by Harman International.  Full press release is below with all the details.  But if you jump over to QNX.com you can see what these guys are all about. On the surface it's looking like RIM wants to enhance the integration between BlackBery Smartphones and in-car infotainment systems, but I would be pretty stoked if in a year or two I could buy a car who's entire onboard computer/communication system was powered by BlackBerry!!  

Press Release

Research In Motion to Acquire QNX Software Unit from Harman International

Move furthers innovation among parties for mobility, connectivity and intelligent automotive markets

STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT and WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 9, 2010) - Harman International (NYSE:HAR) and Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) announced today that the two companies have reached an agreement for RIM to acquire QNX Software Systems. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is anticipated to close within 35-45 days. This strategic move is expected to further strengthen QNX penetration in the automotive market and foster innovation for markets served by all parties.

"RIM is excited about the planned acquisition of QNX Software Systems and we look forward to ongoing collaboration between Harman, QNX and RIM to further integrate and enhance the user experience between smartphones and in-vehicle audio and infotainment systems," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM. "In addition to our interests in expanding the opportunities for QNX in the automotive sector and other markets, we believe the planned acquisition of QNX will also bring other value to RIM in terms of supporting certain unannounced product plans for intelligent peripherals, adding valuable intellectual property to RIM's portfolio and providing long-term synergies for the companies based on the significant and complementary OS expertise that exists within the RIM and QNX teams today."

"We welcome the opportunities that a strengthened relationship with RIM will create, as two innovation leaders collaborate to bring new connectivity solutions to the industry," said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman's Chairman, President and CEO. "We expect to maintain our close association with QNX and the cutting-edge software solutions it provides to Harman and our customers. We believe our leading customers will fully endorse this move and see it as a major step in advancing seamless connectivity and integration among intelligent devices."

"Like Harman, RIM shares our passion for innovation and reliability, so we are absolutely thrilled with this opportunity," said Dan Dodge, CEO, QNX Software Systems. "Moreover, RIM will give us the best of all possible mandates: to continue on our innovation path and to increase investment in our core products, professional services, and go-to-market channels. This is a great time to be a QNX customer, as we focus on collaborating with RIM to create an even more exciting platform for the next generation of connected and embedded devices."

About Harman International
Harman International (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment products for the automotive, consumer and professional markets. The Company maintains a strong presence in the Americas, Europe and Asia and employs about 11,000 people worldwide. The Harman International family of brands spans some 15 leading names including AKG(R), Harman Kardon(R), Infinity(R), JBL(R), Lexicon(R) and Mark Levinson(R). The company's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol HAR.

About QNX
QNX Software Systems, based in Ottawa, Ontario, was founded in 1980 and acquired by Harman International in 2004. The unit's QNX(R) Neutrino(R) open platform operating system is deployed across multiple business sectors including automotive, industrial, telecommunications, medical, defense, and aerospace. For additional information, visit www.qnx.com.

About Research In Motion (RIM)
Research In Motion (RIM) is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications. RIM technology also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity to data. RIM's portfolio of award-winning products, services and embedded technologies are used by thousands of organizations around the world and include the BlackBerry(R) wireless platform, the RIM Wireless Handheld(TM) product line, software development tools, radio-modems and software/hardware licensing agreements. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. RIM is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ:RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:RIM). For more information, visit www.rim.com or www.blackberry.com.

Reader comments

RIM Acquires QNX Software Unit from Harman International - RIM Wants a Piece of the Automotive Infotainment Market?

16 Comments

I have a Ford Expedition with sync and love it. The only problem is it does not do everything that I think it could do. I hope at some point Poynt or something like it could be integrated or voice controlled through sync more easily. That and of course visual voice mail.

Looking forward to what comes out.

I wonder if they would combine this company with their purchase a DASH a year or so ago and make a "killer" Blackberry/GPS combo head unit?

I would like my Twitter feed on my in-dash display please! And my truck needs it's own PIN so I can tell it to warm up via BBM, but I don't want it to nag me about oil changes!

Really QNX is an embedded RT OS kernel. I wonder if this OS will form the core of the next generation of BB OS, or if at least some of this well established *NIX-based kernel will make it into the BB OS. I think that RIM is figuing out that if they don't strengthen their core software offering, nothing else (innovative hardware, range of form factors, price points) is going to matter in their battle against the iPhone express that's headed right for them.

I agree with your assessment, having played around with the QNX OS sometime ago. I don't think this is about the automotive market at all.

I think the acquisition of QNX is a good thing, and that the BBOS will benefit greatly from such a kernel. This is exciting news, and I can't wait to see what's in store in RIM's future.

I'm with both of you.

If you look at the press release Lazaridis says "...we believe the planned acquisition of QNX will also bring other value to RIM in terms [...] providing long-term synergies for the companies based on the significant and complementary OS expertise that exists within the RIM and QNX teams today."

They want QNX's OS expertise for improving BB OS.

This has some pretty cool possibilities. Given how many OEM and Tier One suppliers actually currently use QNX.
Also, if you take the other news about the RIM Tablet and they now get an Embedded OS company. Might make a nice combination.

Great. People who have shown no ability to properly implement software, especially not low level software, get to ruin a beautiful microkernel.

This is what I'm afraid of. The QNX kernel is awesome, and it would be a damn shame if RIM manages to screw this up. Here is to hoping that QNX developers take over RIM's OS development team.