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BlackBerry buys Movirtu for multinumber phone service

Movirtu offers a virtual SIM platform that lets you have both a business number and personal number on the same device.

BlackBerry said it will support the deployment of Movirtu technology on all major smartphone operating systems. Movirtu

BlackBerry has snapped up technology that lets enterprise users ditch two smartphones -- one for work and one for personal use -- for a single smartphone.

BlackBerry has acquired Movirtu, a London-based company that offers a virtual SIM platform that allows users to have both a business phone number and personal phone number running on the same smartphone, the company announced on Thursday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The struggling handset maker has been transitioning its focus back to enterprise customers, as Apple's iPhone and smartphones running Google's Android operating system dominate the consumer market. Earlier this year, BlackBerry said it would focus efforts on its core corporate and government clients and build on its strengths in security and mobile-device management.

A key component in BlackBerry's enterprise push has been appealing to the bring-your-own-device crowd. The corporate world has been facing a tidal wave of employees who have been bringing their own smartphones into the office and using them for corporate activities. In the past, such a trend was unheard of in the enterprise world, but with tighter budgets and changing needs, companies have largely capitulated and now allow for nearly any device to be used for corporate purposes.

Realizing that, BlackBerry has been working on several so-called "partitioning technologies," like Secure Work Space and BlackBerry Balance, that aim at clearly separating personal and enterprise applications and functions. Movirtu seems like a logical extension of that.

Movirtu's technology is designed to be seamless for users who want to switch between two accounts. With its virtual SIM platform, "both a business number and a personal number can be used on a single mobile device, with separate billing for voice, data and messaging usage on each number," said BlackBerry, eliminating the need to carry multiple devices or SIM cards. The handset maker will integrate its own BlackBerry Enterprise Service platform with Movirtu so IT personnel can set policies on the business number without ever affecting the personal side.

Movirtu's technology works on BlackBerry devices, as well as Apple's iPhone and smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system. BlackBerry has no plans to keep Movirtu solely on its own platform and said it will roll out the service to "all major smartphone operating systems."

BlackBerry declined CNET's request to provide additional comment or details on the deal's terms.