FORD MOTOR HIRES 400 BLACKBERRY ENGINEERS
TORONTO • Ford Motor Co. hired 400 of BlackBerry Ltd.’s mobile engineers to develop connected car technology, an employment transfer agreed upon as part of a significant partnership announced last fall.
By taking on the employees who formerly made smartphones for BlackBerry — the Waterloo, Ont.-tech company got out of the handset development game last fall — Ford doubles the number of engineers it has working on in-car technology. The U.S. automaker will also build a new research centre in Ottawa that will conduct connectivity research to be used around the world.
“The move enables us to focus all our resources on the new strategy,” spokeswoman Sarah McKinney said in an emailed statement Thursday.
None of the engineers at QNX, the arm of BlackBerry that develops automotive technology, was involved in the transfer. QNX software is used to power the infotainment systems in 60 million vehicles worldwide, including Ford’s fleet.
The move affected about 100 employees in the U.S. and 300 employees in Canada, some of whom launched a class action against BlackBerry alleging it didn’t properly compensate them for the transfer to a new employer that will not count their years of service.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.