Microsoft, Nokia Mulled RIM Acquisition - InformationWeek

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12/21/2011
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Microsoft, Nokia Mulled RIM Acquisition

Amazon is also said to have kicked the tires on the struggling smartphone maker.

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Teardown
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Teardownr
RIM, the once dominant smartphone maker that's now fallen behind more consumer-friendly competitors, has been the subject of takeover talks by a number of tech heavyweights, reports indicate.

Microsoft and its phone partner Nokia eyed the Canadian company, according to The Wall Street Journal, and Amazon, which introduced its latest tablet--the Kindle Fire--in November, has also been mulling a RIM acquisition, Reuters said.

RIM shares were up more than 10% on the reports in midday trading, following Tuesday's close of $12.52, the lowest in eight years. Even after Wednesday's bump, RIM would be a relative bargain as its stock remains below the $14 per share mark. RIM shares once traded at more than $140 per share.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company, with its Blackberry handsets and enterprise server, remains a major player in the corporate communications market, but its devices have fallen out of favor with consumers amid competition from touch-friendly devices like Apple's iPhone and Google Android powered handsets.

RIM's overall U.S. market share stood at 17.2% as of October, down from 21.7% in July, according to market watcher comScore. Android holds the biggest stake, with a share of 46.3% share, Apple and the iOS-based iPhone is second, with a share of 28.1%, while Microsoft's Windows mobile offerings, including Windows Phone 7, are fourth with 5.4%.

RIM could give any of those companies a leg up in the enterprise market, but for the most part the Blackberry and related products are now an afterthought for most consumers. In an effort to cash in on the tablet craze, the company in April launched the PlayBook. But the product quickly flopped and has disappeared from the shelves of a number of major retailers. Developers also stayed away from PlayBook in droves.

RIM is hoping to regain some ground with the launch of a new BlackBerry operating system. The software includes a number of features meant to make it competitive with Apple and Android devices, including voice activated search, HD video recording, faster graphics, and built-in support for Near Field Communications, which allows devices to exchange information when touched together.

RIM officials were did immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to our Outlook 2012 Survey, IT should expect soaring demand but cautious hiring as companies use technology to try to get closer to customers. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek: Inside Windows Server 8. (Free registration required.)

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