BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY) has acquired mobile technology company Movirtu Ltd., shoring up its smartphone management features as it targets business users.
London-based Movirtu uses a virtual SIM card enabling customers to connect more than one phone number to a single device. The service lets employees who use one phone for work and home to switch easily between business and personal profiles with billing clearly separated, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said in a statement today.
As BlackBerry’s share of the smartphone market has diminished, the company has shifted focus to selling software-based services to businesses and governments and exploiting the bring-your-own-device trend, where employees use work-related apps and features on their personal phones. Gartner Inc. predicts half of employers will ask workers to use their own phones for business by 2017.
“We’ve been very clear as part of our turnaround strategy that we had full intention to not only manage BlackBerry devices but to manage iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices,” John Sims, head of BlackBerry’s enterprise services business, said in a phone interview. “It’s a sizable market opportunity.”
BlackBerry plans to start offering the phone-splitting software to customers early next year, Sims said.
The company’s shares rose 4.9 percent to $10.78 at the close in New York, the biggest daily gain since July 24.
Founded in 2008, Movirtu is run by CEO Carsten Brinkschulte and has 22 employees. It received $5.5 million in a 2010 funding round.
Disclosure BBRY is the largest long position in Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts
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