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BlackBerry's research and development expenditure 2009-2020

Between fiscal year 2012 and 2019, BlackBerry’s expenditures on research and development (R&D) have declined consistently and reached a low of 219 million U.S. dollars in the company’s 2019 fiscal year. Only in the most recent fiscal year did the company see a revival in R&D expense. As BlackBerry struggled to keep up in the evolving smartphone market, the company faced declining revenues and a net loss for several consecutive years. This financial strait led to the declining R&D expenses and a shift in business strategy; in recent years BlackBerry’s ended all internal smartphone development, and switched its focus to software and IoT with a focus on security.

Changing spending priorities

In 2016, BlackBerry made the jump from being a mobile phone producer to a software provider, with its financial spending habits reflecting this change. BlackBerry’s investments are now focused on cyber security, embedded systems, and autonomous driving. For example, its QNX unit makes software for the telematics and infotainment sectors of the automotive industry, and had a revenue increase of 29 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year. With QNX BlackBerry is looking to take on a technological lead in the automotive driving sector, which is projected to increase steadily through 2025.

Providing security in a digital world

With the expansion of the Internet of Things and cloud-based services into all areas and industries, BlackBerry takes on a market they have termed the Enterprise of Things, aiming to provide strong data security in a B2B environment. Worldwide cybersecurity spending is expected to increase to 42 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. BlackBerry’s hardware was known for strong security capabilities, and its move to software strongly carries that same ethos, especially with its recent acquisitions of Good Technology (in 2015), and Cylance (in 2019), strengthening its abilities in cybersecurity and threat mitigation.

Blackberry expenditure on research and development from 2009 to 2020 (in million U.S. dollars)*

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period

2009 to 2020

Supplementary notes

* For RIM the financial year ends in early March or late February of the respective year. For example the 2016 financial year ended on February 29th, 2016.

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