Is RIMM's Unite Platform Really "The Holy Grail"?

Nov. 21, 2007 4:35 AM ETBlackBerry Limited (BB)2 Comments
Mark McQueen profile picture
Mark McQueen

As someone who never pulls his punches, Research In Motion (RIMM) Co-CEO Jim Balsillie told a room filled with portfolio managers (”Scotia Capital Tech/Telecom Conference,“ November 20, 2007) that his new “Unite” platform is “The Holy Grail.” Unite, was first discussed in early October during the Q2 financial results process and Mr. Balsillie advised that the new home server platform was in beta testing with Spain’s Telephonica. Before you run out and buy more RIMM stock, Mr. Balsillie also allowed “that we just have to get the beta done and get it into production.”

But, don’t expect a huge uptake in the next few months.

At the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, giants such as Dell (DELL) and Microsoft (MSFT) put much of their marketing spend into showcasing the “home server” concept, whether it be for entertainment or communication. RIMM’s approach is more manageable, and involves turning your home computer into your family’s personal server. There is no need to run out, and buy a media server to get it up and running.

“This is the Holy Grail to half the carriers out there, we just have to get it done.” He almost sounded a bit frustrated that it still was in beta mode, but if anyone knows RIMM’s Co-CEO, he isn’t someone who gets frustrated.

Unite will be a free software download and work on Windows, courtesy of RIMM’s carrier friends. It’ll reside on the home PC, and turn “even a $200 or $300 PC” into a home server. It is an Enterprise BES for the home. Families will be able to share calendars, log telephone calls, upload photos and store/share music. All you need is a broadband hookup, and constant connectivity, which unfortunately flies a bit in the face of energy consumption trends.

Whether it be

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Mark McQueen profile picture
Mark McQueen is President & CEO of Wellington Financial LP, a privately-held corporate debt fund with offices in San Francisco, Santa Monica and Toronto. He has led Wellington's growth from its inception as a $7 million fund in 2000 to its current $600 million investment program ($200 million fund size). He was previously a Managing Director and Head of Technology Investment Banking of a leading independent investment bank, and before that part of a team that advised on over $25 billion in transactions as a member of the Mergers and Acquisitions group at a Canadian bank-owned investment dealer. Mark received credit training at a Canadian Chartered bank and was certified for commercial lending in 1995. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Toronto Port Authority, and several non-profit organizations. He is not licenced to give investment advice. All posts are Opinion Pieces and were copied by Seeking Alpha from their original publication site at Visit his site: Wellington Financial ( and blog (

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