BlackBerry grasps at mobile payments in attempt to stay relevant
With its smartphone sales shrinking, BlackBerry is pivoting to enterprise services in order to stay afloat, and now it sees mobile payments as its next big opportunity.
BlackBerry has signed a three-year deal with mobile payments firm EnStream, a joint venture by Canada’s three largest wireless carriers, to secure and transfer credit card information between smartphone owners and banks, BlackBerry announced today. A BlackBerry representative declined to disclose the terms of the deal.
EnStream will use BlackBerry’s backend infrastructure to enable banks and other mobile wallet providers to process near-field communication (NFC) payments.
“Working with EnStream demonstrates BlackBerry’s strategy to extend its core enterprise mobility technologies in new and emerging industries,” BlackBerry said in a statement.
The mobile payments company was already a BlackBerry customer: EnStream uses BlackBerry software to manage and secure subscriber info on SIM cards, the result of a deal it signed in October 2012.
The leaner, more enterprise-focused BlackBerry has launched a suite of mobile services and platforms under its new CEO, John Chen, who is desperately trying to stem the company’s losses. It’s shifted focus away from its handset making business to mobile platforms and services, like its BlackBerry Messenger client and mobile device management platform.
In its March earnings report – the first time Chen was CEO for an entire quarter — the company reported a $42 million loss, which was actually less than what analysts expected. That’s a huge improvement from the third (fiscal) quarter of 2014, when the company announced a monumental $4.4 billion loss and 56% revenue drop.