re: RIM Might License BlackBerry Platform: Crazy Or Genius?
The analogy between RIM today and Apple in the early to mid 90s is apt. Fast forward a decade and Apple's products had done a 180 thanks to a focus on innovation from the guts to the surface in both the hardware and the OS arenas. Apple now keeps its focus on how to incorporate and commoditize new ideas, delivering them before users knew enough to want them.
At this point iOS is proven to work well and be reasonably secure with a high fun quotient. The products that uses it are "hot" with consumers and increasingly in the enterprise. Even with Android fully established and Windows at least up from the canvas, it's a good bet that if Apple were to choose to license (unlikely but just suppose) there would be takers.
Google has a simliar approach and it's been as important to the success of Android as the "open source" and "free" images out there.
RIM has never had that focus of appealing to the consumer. its areas of innovation had to do with infrastructure, with creating an ecosystem for the enterprise, secure, easy to manage and easy to integrate with corporate email/calendaring. Make no mistake: BES was a very signficant leap forward; an early cloud solution really. That was enough for IT shops to nix Palm and give their imprimatur to RIM. As Blackberries were doled out in a top down fashion of course they became coveted status symbols.
Unfortunately now RIM doesn't have the only solution on that front; in fact the marketplace has forced RIM to make BES a mutli-device tool. BYOD is here to stay. We see that the infamous "crackberry addiction" is not at all the same as having someone lust after an iPad or iPhone or the latest Samsung Galaxy. RIM could have done so much more so much sooner to bring hot new features to its handsets but instead it they coasted, relying on their huge market share and minor design tweaks to keep what they believed was an unshakeable lead.
Their brand is so tarnished now that their only hope is to deliver products that leapfrog everyone else as the got to have it devices. If that happens and if BB is a big part of what makes those products hot then yes, RIM might find a taker or two, folks who want to distinguish themselves from the pack. Thing is how can they hope to leapfrog everyone else when the competition will deliver at least one new generations of product before RIM delivers its your current one? Hey RIM prove us all wrong if you can but in the meantime don't be surprised that no one is holding their breath.
In this reader's opinion the asset is BES and the only way to salvage their shareholders from taking a total bath is to strengthen and leverage it to the max.