“The BlackBerry is still alive?” “This is a friend’s comment when I shared some information from BlackBerry QNX Media Communication on December 10. Indeed, when it comes to BlackBerry, it may be the first time many people think of a BlackBerry that is dead. A strategic misstep in the smartphone market led the former “mobile aristocrat” to announce his retirement from the mobile phone market on September 28, 2016, transforming him self-service provider. Since then, BlackBerry has faded from the public eye.
To this day, BlackBerry, like Nokia, is often taken out as a classic example of the mobile phone industry.
But after exiting the phone market, did BlackBerry really fall?
After the transformation of the BlackBerry, live more moist
Let’s take a look at BlackBerry’s earnings before and after the transformation.
On the evening of September 28, 2016, BlackBerry reported revenue of $490 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2016, down 31.8 percent from a year earlier and a net loss of $372 million.
In an announcement that he would stop designing and producing BlackBerry smartphones and transforming him self-service providers, BlackBerry CEO John Chen announced on the same day that he would stop designing and producing BlackBerry smartphones in the event of a “failure to make a profit in the second quarter.” BlackBerry’s software and services business generated about $138 million in revenue in the quarter.
After BlackBerry abandoned its phone business, blackberry’s third-quarter revenue fell 27 percent to $289 million, down 27 percent from a year earlier, after focusing on software and services and giving up its hardware business, according to BlackBerry’s third-quarter results for the year ended Nov. 30. But revenue from the software and services business rose 16 percent from the previous quarter to $160 million, and overall net loss narrowed to $117 million.
Nearly three years later, let’s take a look at BlackBerry’s latest fiscal and fiscal report.
According to BlackBerry’s fiscal 2019 results for the year ended February 28, 2019, operating income was $904 million, down 3 percent from a year earlier, and net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was $93.00 million, down 77.04 percent from a year earlier.
Among them, total GAAP (based on accounting standards) and non-GAAP software and services revenue rose more than 10% year-on-year to a record high of $845 million and $857 million, respectively.
“I’m very pleased that BlackBerry has become a company with more than $1 billion in revenue in the security software industry,” BlackBerry CEO Cheng Shouzong said at the time. “
Comparing the above data, BlackBerry’s revenue in the second quarter of fiscal 2016, before abandoning its mobile business, was $490 million, but its net loss was $372 million.
Three years later, in the second quarter of fiscal 2019, revenue was only half that of the previous one, but profits reached nearly $100 million. Revenue from the non-GAAP software and services business also reached $256 million, up 85.5 percent from three years ago.
In September, BlackBerry reported its second-quarter financial results for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, showing total non-GAAP revenue of $261 million, up 22 percent from a year earlier, and GAAP total revenue of $244 million, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Total non-GAAP software and services revenue was $256 million, up 30% year-on-year. GAAP total revenue from software and services was $239 million, up 24% year-on-year. Recurring revenue from non-GAAP software and services accounts for more than 90% (excluding intellectual property licensing and professional services). Non-GAAP and GAAP gross margins are as high as 75% and 72%, respectively.
Clearly, BlackBerry’s gross margin is so high that it has grown over the past three years in its software and services business.
So, from BlackBerry’s earnings data, it’s not hard to see that since giving up its loss-making mobile phone business in 2016 and transforming its software and service providers across the board, BlackBerry has not “lost” and is living a much better life. BlackBerry’s successful transformation has been helped by the strong rise of its QNX system in the automotive market.
The Rise of BlackBerry QNX System Software
QNX system is a commercial distributed, embedded, scale-based Unix real-time operating system that complies with POSIX specifications. It is also one of the most successful microkernel operating systems to the day.
The QNX system was originally created by Quantum Software Systems, A. Canada, founded in 1980. In 2004, Harman Group acquired QNX for $138 million in cash.
Subsequently, in April 2010, BlackBerry acquired QNX Software Company from Harman Group, and combined with its own technology accumulation, gradually launched a complete intelligent network connected in-vehicle electronic technology solutions, including: QNX basic software platform, acoustic software development platform, domain controller architecture, digital instrument software development platform, Heypervisor platform, smart driving platform, and more.
At present, the world’s top 7 automotive first-class suppliers, 45 automotive OEMs (including the world’s top 10 Oems), have adopted the Blackberry QNX system, to achieve 100% to meet OEM production deadline spending. QNX now has 270 programs to support the operation of the car.
More than 290 models worldwide use the QNX system, including Harman beck, Delphi, Continental, General Electric, Aisin and other well-known automotive electronic platforms are built on the QNX system.
Almost all major car brands worldwide include Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Daimler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hummer, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Jeep, Blue Jay, Mazda, Marseille, Mini BMW, Mitsubishi, Nissan , Opel, Pontiac, Porsche, Saab, Saturn, Ssangyong, Toyota and Volkswagen all use QNX-based systems.
More than 150 million cars have been used in QNX software worldwide. Data show that blackberry QNX in the automotive operating system market share of more than 75%.
It’s also worth noting that Apple’s previous Carplay system for cars is also based on The BlackBerry-based QNX. Baidu’s self-driving software platform Apollo is also open source, but its lowest-level RTOS-real-time operating system is actually BlackBerry-based QNX, the partnership was announced in January 2018.
Kaivan Karim, Senior Vice President and Co-Head, Technology Solutions, Blackberry
“We are the number one in the automotive embedded operating system market. It can be said that most of the world’s automotive systems are using our solutions to solve the problems they face through our safeguards, including system commissioning. Kaivan Karim, Senior Vice President and Co-Head of Technology Solutions at Blackberry Technology Solutions, said proudly at BlackBerry QNX Media Communications on December 10.
In addition to automotive, network communications is the second largest area of application for BlackBerry QNX. Data show that QNX’s largest customer order comes from Cisco systems, where almost all of the high-end routing devices use the QNX system. In addition, QNX works closely with companies such as General Electric, Alstom, Siemens, Lockheed Martin and NASA, playing an active role in rail transportation, medical devices, smart grids, and aerospace.
Why does QNX stand out in the automotive market?
As mentioned earlier, the key reason why BlackBerry went from being a “nobility” in the mobile phone industry to being forced out of the market was that it did not accept the touch screen in time, embrace the open-source Android system, and was forced to change, but was not firm enough.
So why does the “closed” BlackBerry QNX stand out in the automotive system market?
– Rapid increase in the proportion of automotive software costs
“Software is encircling the world, and every company will become a software company in the future. Marc Andresen, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist and founder of Netscape, points out.
With the development of Internet of Things, 5G, artificial intelligence and other technologies, the traditional automobile industry is rapidly turning to intelligent, electric, networking. So a large number of new energy vehicles, smart car start-ups, such as Tesla, Weilai Automobile, Xiaopeng Automobile, Weima and other enterprises. At the same time, Volkswagen, BMW, GM and many other traditional car companies have begun to follow up quickly.
Under the trend of intelligent, electric and networked cars, the ratio of electronic cost and software cost of automobile is rising rapidly.
Data from the Sadie think-tank also show that in 2005 the cost of electronic scars was only 20 per cent, but now the cost of electronics in cars has risen to more than 50 per cent. Automotive intelligence, network connecting, electric and sharing, will drive the power devices, sensors, ADAS chips, RF chips and other market demand for rapid growth. And with more and more electronic components on the car, the degree of intelligence is getting higher and higher, the software is more and more complex.
Kaivan Karim, senior vice president and co-head of technology solutions at Blackberry, predicts that by 2030, the cost of electronics and software will reach 50 percent of the cost of the vehicle, and that software will account for 30 percent of that 50 percent.
However, a set of data shared by Dr. Zhiguang Chen, global president and co-CEO of Synopsys, is more optimistic that by 2025 there will be more than 3m lines of software code per vehicle, which will account for 25 per cent of the cost of the vehicle. If the cost of a car is $14,000, the cost of software will be as high as $3,500.
Obviously, under the trend of electric, intelligent and networking of automobiles, the importance and cost ratio of software in automobiles will be higher and higher, and the market space and value will be great. And that opens up opportunities for the rise of BlackBerry’s QNX system.
– Security is critical
Unlike popular open source software systems on smartphones and PCs, cars are more demanding for security and reliability because they can pose a deadly threat to the safety of drivers and passengers if they fail or are attacked. Especially for self-driving cars, high safety, high reliability, low latency real-time operating system is the first choice.
As a microkernel-based multi-scene distributed operating system, QNX system has advantages in terms of security, reliability and real-time compared to open source Linux and Android systems with macro kernels. What’s more, QNX is not an open source system.
“I think open source is a great idea, and now a lot of prototypes are based on Linux, which is a great platform for innovation. But when safety comes first, we have to deal with open source right. Because people contribute not only good code, but also flawed code. Now a lot of open source software has a lot of vulnerabilities. Data show that 30%-35% of the reasons for the attack on open source platforms are due to vulnerabilities left behind in the first place. Kaivan Karimi said, “QNX was only developed by ourselves, and we are the only QNX developer, which will bring more security benefits and make us less vulnerable.” “
To demonstrate qNX security, Kaivan Karimi published a set of data from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Software Engineering on the security of different operating systems.
According to the data, the code developed in the United States “averages” 0.75 defects per function point, or 6,000 defects per million lines of code (MLOC). Suppose that the “very good” level is 600 to 1000 defects per million lines of code, while the “particularly good” level is less than 600 defects per million lines of code, of which 1% to 5% will be considered a vulnerability.
Even if all the code is at a “very good” level, there will be 100,000 bugs per car today when each car contains 100 million lines of code, which means there could be 1,000-5000 vulnerabilities. Therefore, the safety requirements for car code should be higher.
Data from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Software Engineering also showed that Android was the most vulnerable operating system in 2108, followed by Linux versions, with Windows 10 in seventh place. In addition, in terms of the number of “backdoor” vulnerabilities that have been verified so far, there will be more than 1,000 android vulnerabilities in 2018, nearly 400 in Apple’s iOS system, and nearly 100 in Ubuntu Linux.
By contrast, the QNX system was found with only one vulnerability in 2018, and only five have been found in the year since 2010. Obviously, QNX is really great at the security of the system.
“While open source solutions can save developers time, this loss is not something we can afford if there is a security risk in this process that could remain in production.” The importance of system software security has been agreed across the automotive industry, and other competitors can’t even get close to us in this regard. That’s why we’re effective at preventing hackers from hacking in terms of system software. Arguably, QNX is the only OS system that can support protection in real time, which is the foundation of security. Kaivan Karimi stressed.
In-vehicle system software also requires strong safety certification support before it can enter large-scale production of automobiles, which is especially important for the automotive industry. The QNX system has now been certified to high-level safety standards in many fields, including automotive, medical, etc., and has maintained a 100% safety record for decades.
In addition, the fourth important initiative was taken to mitigate the problem with the use of secure wireless software update services to update the automotive system after the problem was detected.
“BlackBerry has been in the security space for at least 15 years, and with the exception of the automotive sector, the vast majority of the G20 and G7 countries are responsible for security, and the world’s top five insurance companies are adopting BlackBerry QNX systems and solutions. It also reflects how our QNX is truly unmatched in terms of security. Kaivan Karim concluded.
– “Conservative” and “open”
It’s true that BlackBerry QNX is safer and more reliable than open source Android and Linux in terms of security, but Android and Linux are more important in terms of compatibility and openness. That’s why some smart cockpits or in-car entertainment systems still choose Android and Linux. So can QNX system improve QNX compatibility and openness on the basis of ensuring security?
In fact, as early as 2015, BlackBerry introduced the QNX Hypervisor 1.0 version of the virtual machine platform, embedded system developers can unify multiple operating systems to a single computing platform or SoC on-chip system, reducing the cost, size, weight and power consumption of the product. Furthermore, the virtual machine platform is able to isolate security-related (e.g. primary control units) and non-security-related software components (such as entertainment systems) so that security-related components run on one operating system and non-security-related components on another operating system on the virtual machine. This simplifies the certification process for security-critical systems.
On BlackBerry QNX Hypervisor, it is possible to support operating systems such as QNX Neutrino, Linux, and Android.
Then, in 2017, BlackBerry introduced QNX Hypervisor 2.0 and this year was certified to the ISO 26262 ASIL D standard, becoming the world’s first commercial virtual machine certified by ASIL D Security. This also means that QNX Hypervisor 2.0 has met the requirements for the highest level of security in the area of functional security.
At the BlackBerry QNX media conference on December 10th, BlackBerry also announced a partnership with automotive supplier Marelli China to integrate the NQX digital cockpit platform into Marelli’s Electronics eCockpit and Digital Cluster solutions. The integrated solution will be adopted by Marelli’s extensive OEM customers in China.
New Smart Cockpit Products based on QNX Hypervisor 2.0 from Marelli Electronics
马瑞利电子中国总经理邬慧海告诉芯智讯:”我们新推出的第三代的智能座舱产品,里面是用的QNX Hypervisor虚拟化的操作系统。 Among them, for real-time and security requirements of the dashboard can use QNX, while entertainment systems can choose compatibility, more open Android or Linux. This is very much in line with our demand that cars be both conservative and open. “
Kaivan Karim (first from left), Senior Vice President and Co-Head of Technology Solutions at Blackberry, and Yu Huihai (right), General Manager of Marili Electronics China
In addition, BlackBerry QNX has announced a strategic partnership with Waymar. Weimar will be equipped with the QNX Neutrino real-time operating system and other QNX software products in the next generation. As part of the partnership, Waymar Will oedd a range of QNX software and services, including the QNX digital cockpit platform and qNX Hypervisor virtualization platform.
There may be only one in the market in the future.
As mentioned earlier, the BlackBerry QNX currently has the most complete and safe products in the automotive market, even though it has the most complete and safe products, but there are still competitors, especially in in-vehicle entertainment systems. And other competitors are also strengthening security capabilities, such as mission-critical system security certification.
“In the current automotive market, as a neutral passenger car, there will probably be six different software operating systems on the same vehicle, including dozens of different electronic control units, but these electronic control units will be more and more integrated on the unified platform in the future. Kaivan Karimi predicts that “in the next few years, cars will increasingly adopt ECU (domain controllers) and add more and more sensors and electronic control units, and as the integration of the hardware platform increases, the software must also be further integrated, and the two must be developed in a collaborative way.” “
As a result, Kaivan Karimi predicts that by 2030 there will be only two or one of the six different operating systems on the car. Although Kaivan Karimi did not say who would be left in the end, his words actually gave an answer.
“I am confident that our products will continue to be very important in the market in the future, and despite the challenges faced by other players, I am confident that BlackBerry QNX will have a place in the market in the future.” Kaivan Karimi said with great confidence.