John Chen undecided about new Mercedes AMG Petronas sponsorship deal

BlackBerry’s sponsorship contract with Formula One’s Mercedes AMG Petronas team runs out at the end of this year.

Rumoured at a cost of more than $45-million for three years, BlackBerry CEO John Chen was asked whether he feels it has been good value for money?

“Given the conditions we were in in the last three years it worked in some places,”

“It doesn’t work uniformly but a lot of that isn’t about Formula One, it’s about us because when we were very preoccupied with turning around the company . . . we really didn’t take advantage of the platform . . . The fact of the matter is we haven’t truly been in a position to take advantage of their platform and everything else.”

Chen agrees Mercedes’ F1 World Championship win in 2014 produced good foreign market exposure for BlackBerry, but he remains undecided on whether a new sponsorship deal will be signed.

With BlackBerry’s QNX software running on about 50 million cars around the world, the unit is a promising part of the company’s turnaround strategy.

The emphasis going forward will be on security and privacy, he says, plugging QNX as the most secure microkernel. Chen says security concerns will only grow as autonomous automobile features increase.

“It’s not only about people stealing your data or your address book or your preferences or your identity. It’s way beyond that. It’s physical harm.”

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