Can Ford Rescue BlackBerry?

Detroit (TheStreet) -- Blackberry ( BBRY) shares were rising Monday after reports surfaced that the Ontario-based company will take over Ford's  ( F) disappointing Sync voice-activated system.

A relationship with Ford would be a coup for Blackberry, which was the early leader in the smartphone business when it was introduced in 1999 but has been losing ground for years. Blackberry shares were up 59 cents to $9.73 in early morning trading.

Sync has been one of Ford's few disappointments in recent years, one of the few blemishes on the company since Alan Mulally took over as CEO in 2006. Sync and the MyFord Touch infotainment system have consistently held Ford back in vehicle quality ratings by both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power.

Microsoft (MSFT) has been Ford's partner since Sync was introduced in 2007. The switch from Microsoft was initially reported on Feb. 19 in The Hansen Report, an automotive electronics newsletter, which said that Ford's third-generation Sync technology will be based on QNX from Blackberry, not Windows Embedded Automotive from Microsoft.

"Ford has been trying for many months to find a company to take over maintenance of the Sync 2 software," the newsletter said. Although Ford and Microsoft broke ground with the first and second Sync platforms, Sync 2 "has been criticized for being glitch prone and difficult to operate," it said, noting that "Ford is not at all done with Microsoft, but wants to work with the company differently going forward."

Ford said it will continue to work with Microsoft and wouldn't comment specifically on a future relationship with Sync.

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