By Rip Empson
The fear and loathing of RIM (RIMM) has been well-documented by this point. At the end of June, the company released its Q1 2013 earnings, which were more than a little disappointing, with RIM reporting its first operating loss in eight years, that it would be cutting 5K+ employees and that the release of its new BlackBerry were again being delayed - this time until the beginning of 2013.
The acquisition rumors had already been swirling around the BlackBerry maker, and since then, they've intensified, with some big names kicking the company's tires. This morning, Chris wrote about Samsung's confirmation that (again) it was neither considering a buy-out nor a licensing agreement, even though it's been reported numerous times that it, in fact, it's been considering both. And, today, Bloomberg has reported that IBM has "made an informal approach" to acquire RIM's enterprise services unit, which is really at the core of BlackBerry's business.
While RIM has certainly been hurting, the company still has hopes that BlackBerry 10 can reinvigorate consumer interest in its products. That's obviously part of the reason why RIM's board has reportedly turned down IBM's interest in its enterprise unit - after all, as new CEO Thorsten Heins has said (via The Verge), "enterprise is where BlackBerry lives best." Big Blue obviously knows a thing or two about enterprise, so it wouldn't be surprising to see it continue to seek an acquisition in the event BlackBerry 10 isn't the panacea RIM hopes it could be.
What's more, Heins has said in the past that RIM might consider licensing BlackBerry 10 to handset manufacturers, which naturally he believes to be a scenario preferable to one in which RIM is broken up into pieces and sold to the highest bidders. In keeping with that preference, RIM's board has allegedly nixed the idea of selling its divisions, to both Samsung and now IBM.
There are a lot of people (customers and beyond) both quietly and loudly pulling for RIM, hoping that it nails BB 10. However, as the long wait for its arrival continues, the pressure on the company to produce big innovations in the market and release some sort of WonderBerry may be too great.
It's increasingly likely that RIM will have to, at the very least, undergo a major restructuring, and if BB 10 should fail, the enterprise unit will likely curry the highest price as it's really the most valuable component of RIM's business. So this probably isn't the last time we'll hear reports of big names jockeying for first dibs.
Excerpt image from MyBankTracker