UPDATE 1-BlackBerry buys UK mobile technology start-up Movirtu

Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:21am EDT
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(Recasts, adds executive comments)

By Euan Rocha and Alina Selyukh

TORONTO/LAS VEGAS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - BlackBerry has acquired a U.K-based mobile technology start-up whose software allows users to have multiple phone numbers on the same device, the Canadian tech firm said on Thursday.

The purchase of Movirtu helps BlackBerry ramp up its portfolio of services to cater to the needs of its core base of corporate and government clients. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Movirtu's virtual SIM technology allows an individual to have both a personal and business number on a single mobile device, with separate billing for voice, data and messaging usage on each number.

This allows employees to switch between work and personal profiles easily without carrying multiple devices or SIM cards.

"Clearly this fits nicely within the strategy we have so far articulated. We are building recurring revenue streams in value-added services and providing more value to enterprises," the head of BlackBerry's enterprise unit John Sims said in an interview.

Sims said Movirtu's technology would allow IT administrators for example to restrict calls and emails to a work number after a particular time, without blocking personal calls or emails to the same device.

BlackBerry, which dominated the smartphone market in its infancy, has been reshaping itself over the course of the last year as its devices have lost ground to Apple's iPhone and a slew of rival devices powered by Google's Android operating system.   Continued...