Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion is in deep trouble. They haven’t had a hit device in their product portfolio since disco was at the top of the charts. The PlayBook, RIM’s response to the iPad, was such an abysmal failure that the company lost almost half a billion dollars to get it off the market. RIM’s next generation operating system, dubbed BBX, had to be renamed to BlackBerry 10 after the company that owns the BBX trademark filed a complaint. And to make matters even worse, RIM recently announced that they’re not going to ship any smartphones running BlackBerry 10 until the end of 2012. Yet despite all that RIM is an acquisition target. According to Reuters, Amazon hired an investment bank over the summer to see how a merger with RIM would work out. Just a few short hours later a report from The Wall Street Journal said that both Microsoft and Nokia also approached RIM. All three companies failed to make a deal go through.
What does this all mean? People with a lot of money see RIM as dead in the water. The only things they have going for them are their vast collection of patents, some customer loyalty in the emerging markets, BlackBerry Messenger, and relationships with enterprise customers that can be milked for years to come. It’s a sad state of affairs, but we can’t help but think that RIM deserves this for being so stubborn. The parallels between Nokia’s demise and RIM’s current situation are uncanny. In fact, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if by this time next year RIM announced that they’re going to switch to Windows Phone.
Now as for what Nokia would have done with RIM, that’s a good question. Probably use them to wiggle their way into the American market while they’re still even relevant in the American market. Though we’ll never really know what was said behind closed doors.
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