National Post (National Edition) - - FINANCIAL POST - EMILY JACK­SON Fi­nan­cial Post ejack­son@post­

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.

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