Microsoft, Nokia, Amazon All Eyeing an Acquisition of RIM
The latest leaks suggest that Amazon and a Microsoft-Nokia partnership may both be looking to acquire Canadian smartphone Research in Motion. After slumping stock prices and declining market share for the company’s BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook tablet, Research in Motion is struggling to stay competitive in the market with touch competition from Apple’s iOS platform, Google’s Android OS, and even Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 software. Despite interest in taking over the company, RIM is currently turning down external offers and prefers to fight the smartphone battle solo for now, opting to turn its attention on fixing problems with its OS and releasing competitive smartphone models.
According to Reuters, Amazon.com had hired an investment banking firm this summer to examine a RIM takeover. It’s unclear if the Internet retailer had met with RIM executives or if it was a preliminary examination of RIM, but interests are said to be ‘cool’ following. RIM’s board of directors have instructed the company’s co-CEOs to focus on fixing problems internally rather than sell the company, according to Reuter’s sources:
“Selling the company or an economic joint venture is probably not in the cards right now,” said the source. “Until you stabilize the platform, people are going to be very nervous about spending $10 billion or more.”
The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that informal discussions have been initiated by Microsoft and Nokia jointly in a bid for RIM. However, some suggested that the notion was tossed out without too much weight and that those discussions may not amount to much. It’s unclear why a Microsoft-Nokia partnership would be interested in RIM other than for the company’s intellectual property. For its part, Microsoft already is pushing its own mobile operating system and has already found a large and substantial hardware partner in Nokia to sell devices with Windows Phone.
RIM is rushing to release its BlackBerry 10 operating system, which the company had failed to brand as BBX following a trademark suit, but that OS is delayed until 2012. For now, RIM, which has historically remained closed like Apple, may look at licensing its OS to other vendors for use. It’s unclear what the repercussions such actions would attract in the community as RIM’s claim to fame is its hallmarked security features and tight integration with BlackBerry servers for secure push email. Licensing its OS may not be viewed favorably by government and enterprise users who remain committed to RIM’s platform for security considerations.