Why Would Anyone Buy RIM?

January 19, 2012

There are talks once in a while about companies wanting to acquire RIM. Does it make any sense?

I went this week to WIPJam Tel-Aviv. The sessions were interesting and a lot of stuff was raised. I learned a lot – especially about our own home-grown apps companies and ecosystem here in Israel. I went to WIPJam with a few colleagues from RADVISION, and since the gold sponsor was RIM with a few BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBooks were given as prizes during the sessions, we of course joked on who would want a BlackBerry device these days. My friend then asked why would anyone want to buy RIM, referencing past news about Microsoft being interested in RIM and Cringely’s own predictions about it in 2012:

Since Microsoft feels it can’t afford to miss the mobile transition, they’ll do anything to hold at least the third spot, which is why I expect Redmond to eventually acquire RIM. That would actually be a better than usual deal for Microsoft. RIM has (residual and fading) market share as well as incredible talent at its Waterloo, Ontario HQ, not to mention a bootload of cash. What they don’t have is a clue, which is why they need Microsoft, which is clueless, too, but will at least provide desperate new leadership, mass, and marketing clout.

My automatic answer was simple: RIM has a considerable market share (although it is shrinking) and it has a lot of good technology that is now up for grabs.

Since then, I’ve bumped into a rumor on an Israeli site that Amazon is in an advanced process to acquire RIM. This actually makes sense – especially when Sanyu Kiruluta from RIM stated at WIPJam that their strategy is to go with Android, Flash, HTML5 and native apps on their devices – whatever you feel like using for your development. As Amazon already use Android… and want to differentiate from Google, it makes a good match for them to acquire RIM.

RIM might not have made the right moves or had the luck required with juggernauts like Apple and Google setting the pace in the market, but they did make some interesting acquisitions of late:

  • ubitexx – device management and security for the enterprise
  • Tungle.me – online, easy to use scheduling solution
  • Gist – contacts organizer
  • The Astonishing Tribe – An established and known design house for mobile UX/UI solutions
  • Scoreloop – an SDK for developers to enable mobile social gaming
  • JayCut – an online video editing startup

I guess RIM has a thing or two that other vendors can use – they might not be able to survive on their own, but they definitely have technology that makes sense for acquisition.

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