The Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL will start developing and manufacturing Blackberry-branded phones as part of a long-term licensing agreement. The agreement covers all global markets except for South-Asia and Indonesia where Blackberry already has existing licensing deals with other firms.
BlackBerry phones were once the undisputable choice among corporate customers. The company ultimately faced a similar fate as Nokia. Both firms relied on in-house developed operating systems (BlackBerry OS and Symbian) that were unable to compete with iOS and Android systems. Ironically, both BlackBerry and Nokia announced exclusive licensing deals this week: Nokia with HMD Global Oy (HMD) and Blackberry with TCL. Licensing the brand is a way for the once-mighty phone players to monetise their brand equity while at the same time reaching new customers.
What does the licensing deal entail?
The deal basically entails the entire phone business:
- BlackBerry brand rights
- BlackBerry’s renowned security suite and software
BlackBerry will focus solely on the development of security software for mobile devices. TCL then licenses this technology from BlackBerry and incorporates it into its phonesand tablets. TCL takes full ownership of the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of BlackBerry phones.