BlackBerry acquires UK mobile technology start-up Movirtu to boost BYOD appeal

BlackBerry has announced its acquisition of virtual identity platform provider Movirtu, to provide users of iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices with a way to split their bill between corporate and personal use.


Movirtu’s Virtual SIM platform allows businesses to provide employees with a company and personal phone number on one device.

With this service, employees are able to switch between business and corporate numbers, therefore ensuring that charges are billed to the appropriate account.

Movirtu’s platform not only avoids employees running up huge personal bills at a company’s expense, but also bypasses the need for them to carry multiple mobile phones.

With the acquisition, BlackBerry will be able to integrate this service with their enterprise platforms, such as BlackBerry Enterprise Service, to apply corporate IT policies to the business number without encroaching on a device’s functionality for personal use.

BlackBerry claims the acquisition will complement its Secure Work Space and Balance technologies. These platforms partition smartphones in a way that provides the security and management needed for business use, without removing the freedom and privacy expected for personal use.

John Chen, chief executive at BlackBerry, said that the company is looking at ways to remove challenges to efficiency and convenience faced by enterprises, employees and mobile operators trying to adopt bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.

He added: “The acquisition of Movirtu complements our core strategy of providing additional value-added services.”

The acquisition means BlackBerry will now offer the Virtual SIM platform to its mobile operators, and support the Movirtu with the deployment of its technology to mobile operators working with Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices.

V3 approached BlackBerry and Movirtu for more information on the acquisition, but neither company was available to comment at the time.

BlackBerry appears to be attempting to strengthen its position as a supplier of enterprise mobile services, as recently it expanded its BBM Protected messaging app to handsets using the Balance platform.

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