Emerging Technology

Google plans to raid BlackBerry’s talent through new Ontario office and tech start-ups

Andrew Sadauskas /

Google has revealed plans to conduct a talent raid on embattled smartphone giant BlackBerry by opening a new office specialising in mobile technology in Waterloo, Ontario.

The news comes after a horror quarter for BlackBerry, during which it announced plans to lay off 4500 staff, suffered $US1 billion in losses, sat on a $US1 billion inventory of unsold Z10 smartphones, suffered delays to a key product rollout for iOS and Android, witnessed the mass resignation of senior executives, had a major carrier pull its products from stores and was sold to investor Prem Watsa for $US4.7 billion.

Amid the crisis, BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins reportedly purchased a new Bombardier Global Express corporate jet. In July of 2012, Heins infamously said there was “nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now”.

In the latest development at the company, the Financial Post reports Google has announced plans to open a new facility as part of its Motorola Mobility hardware division, dubbed Motorola Kitchener-Waterloo.

The new facility is just a 10-minute drive from BlackBerry’s global headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.

“We’ve got big plans and we’re very optimistic,” says Google’s engineering director for Motorola Canada, Derek Phillips

“We’re always looking for places where there’s lots of opportunity for growth and it’s not always easy to find places that have significant tech talent in a variety of areas, but especially mobile.”

Google also has around 150 existing engineering staff in another office in Waterloo it opened in 2005.

Aside from the Motorola Kitchener-Waterloo facility, The Globe and Mail reports the mobile, search and web services giant is investing in a Waterloo-based start-up incubator called Communitech.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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