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BlackBerry Rises Again After Expanded Baidu Partnership

BlackBerry shares rise sharply again, this time getting a boost from an expanded partnership with Baidu for autonomous driving technology.

BlackBerry  (BB) - Get BlackBerry Limited Report shares levelled off on Tuesday following robust pre-market gains after the company announced an expanded partnership with Baidu  (BIDU) - Get Baidu Inc. 百度 Report that will see it continue working on automated high-definition mapping software that Baidu uses in its autonomous driving technology.

Shares of the Canadian software company once known for its QWERTY keyboard-enabled mobile phones and even before that, pagers, were up 17.3% at $21.15 in premarket trading after revealing the expanded deal with Baidu, which broadens the company's use of BlackBerry’s operating system in its "Apollo" autonomous driving open platform.

In regular trading, the stock was up 2.33% at $18.46. The shares gained 28% on Monday.

Under the expanded partnership, Baidu’s high-definition map will be integrated with BlackBerry’s QNX Neutrino real-time operating system. The integrated system will be mass-produced and available on Guangzhou Automobile Group electric vehicle arm’s upcoming GAC New Energy Aion models, Baidu said in a statement.

“The BlackBerry QNX software performs well in functional safety, network security and reliability, while Baidu has achieved long-term development in artificial intelligence and deep learning,” Wang Yunpeng, Senior Director of Technology Department of Baidu’s Intelligent Driving Group, said in the statement. 

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BlackBerry’s stock gains follow an eclectic January for the technology security and software company, which received a sharp boost from retail traders on Monday and was being heavily mentioned on online message boards such as Reddit, which like GameStop  (GME) - Get GameStop Corporation Report and Express  (EXPR) - Get Express Inc. Report has become a favorite on the message board.

BlackBerry stock has gained 172% so far in 2021.

Meantime, RBC analyst Paul Treiber on Tuesday cut his rating on BlackBerry to underperform from sector perform, citing valuation and saying there has been no change to the company’s fundamental outlook.

A valuation now at multi-year highs and above peers despite no change to the company’s fundamental outlook is “overly optimistic,” the analyst says.

He maintained his price target at $7.50.