Samsung To RIM: Not Interested
Samsung says it has not considered purchasing Research In Motion, nor licensing its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.
"We haven't considered acquiring the firm and are not interested in [buying RIM]," said Samsung spokesperson James Chung to Reuters. The comment follows reports suggesting that Samsung might be in a position to save RIM from its descent into oblivion.
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On Wednesday, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said, "We believe RIM is attempting to revive discussions with Samsung regarding a BB10 licensing deal." Misek based this assessment on an apparent change of heart voiced by RIM CEO Thorsten Heins.
[ Does Samsung need RIM? Read Samsung, Apple Widen Lead In Smartphone Race. ]
Specifically, Heins said, "We don't have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year. We have to differentiate and have a focused platform. To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than I can do it. There [are] different options we could do that we're currently investigating."
Heins was explaining to the Daily Telegraph that it is exploring strategic options, and that licensing BlackBerry 10 is one of the options it is looking at. Earlier this year, Heins said licensing wasn't on the table.
"Given recent management comments in the press," wrote Misek, "it now appears that RIM is realizing what Wall Street has been saying for some time: They are a subscale manufacturer and desperately need a partner."
RIM was reported to be in talks with Samsung earlier this year, so it's not unreasonable for Misek to assume RIM's recent comments might apply to Samsung.
Lee Sei-cheol, an analyst at Meritz Securities, had some scathing commentary, however. "RIM has already lost its initiative in the smartphone market and what is left doesn't look really attractive to the likes of Samsung," he told Reuters. "Should they have a deep patent pool, that might be the most appealing asset to potential acquirers."
Ouch. True that RIM has some good patents, but I think there's more worth buried somewhere in the BlackBerry maker beyond its intellectual property.
It's also worth pointing out that (so far) RIM hasn't denied the Misek report. Research In Motion has been mum on the subject. That could mean RIM is doing exactly what Misek said it is doing: looking for a partner.
Who else might RIM be talking to? Your guess is as good as mine.
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