BlackBerry spent $1.3 billion in R&D last year

white BlackBerry Passport

Research Infosource has released a report ranking the top 100 Canadian corporate R&D spenders, based upon fiscal year 2013 amounts. While Bombardier’s occupancy in the pole position is expected, some may be surprised to know that BlackBerry holds the number two spot. In FY2013, BlackBerry spent $1,324,470,000 on R&D, which is more than IBM Canada, Rogers, Imperial Oil, and GM Canada combined, as well as 19% of the company’s earned revenue.

While the amount seems gaudy in a Canadian context, when compared to some of the global tech leaders it’s actually quite small. For example, Apple spent $4.5 billion USD on R&D in 2013, while Microsoft spent a whopping $10 billion USD. Of course, these companies are much larger than BlackBerry, and cover a wide range of verticals, so a larger spend on R&D is expected. For an alternate perspective, smartphone chipset provider Qualcomm, which has a much more targeted focus than Apple and Microsoft, spent $3.4 billion USD on R&D in 2013.

Disclosure: I worked for BlackBerry from 2009-2011. Despite numerous requests, I was not afforded my own discretionary R&D budget.

[source]Research Infosource[/source]