BlackBerry acquires Movirtu to boost BYOD capabilities

Movirtu makes virtual identity software that can help businesses avoid costly fees incurred when a device is used for both business and personal use.

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Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

BlackBerry said it has entered an agreement to acquire the London-based startup Movirtu. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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The acquisition addresses the growing trend of bring-your-own-device to work programs by employers. Movirtu makes virtual identity software that can help businesses avoid costly fees incurred when a device is used for both business and personal use.

On the mobile operator side, Movirtu’s software enables multiple numbers to be active on a single device, such as a business line and a personal line, while maintaining separate billing for voice, data and messaging on each number.

As a result, employees can switch between business and personal profiles without carrying multiple devices or SIM cards, and charges can be split between the company and the employee.

And all of this can be done, BlackBerry says, without disrupting its BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) platform, so that its highly valued enterprise customers can still apply IT policies to the business number while keeping the device functional for personal use.

Movirtu's technology works on BlackBerrys, iPhones and Android devices, so going forward BlackBerry will be able to bring in revenue from business customers utilizing the technology.

"In a BYOD and COPE world, there remain a number of efficiency and convenience challenges facing enterprises, employees and mobile operators alike," said BlackBerry chairman and CEO John Chen, in a statement. "The acquisition of Movirtu complements our core strategy of providing additional value added services, and it will leverage our key assets, including our BES platform, along with our existing global infrastructure which is connected to a large number of mobile operators around the world."

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