by Anton Shilov
12/20/2011 | 08:50 PM
As Research in Motion continues to lose market share to smartphones from Apple, Samsung, HTC and others, numerous companies approach the maker of Blackberry handsets with takeover proposals. So far RIM resists, but there is no questions that giants like Amazon, Microsoft Corp., Nokia Corp. and a number of others could benefit from acquisition of the Canadian firm.
"They have had approaches from folks who have wanted to have discussions. The issue is it is hard to find a value that makes sense with a falling knife," said one head of technology investment banking at a Wall Street bank, reports Reuters news-agency.
Amazon hired an investment bank earlier this year to review a potential merger with RIM, but it did not make a formal offer, said one of the sources of the news-agency. Amazon and RIM are still discussing ways to expand their commercial ties, which currently include a service launched last year to make Amazon's music catalog available to some BlackBerry users, according to the sources. Naturally, Amazon is also interested in various intellectual property of RIM in a bid to keep itself out of wireless patent wars.
But Amazon was not the only company interested in taking over RIM with its loyal clients both among businesses and individuals. Apparently, Microsoft and Nokia in recent months "flirted with the idea of making a joint bid for Research In Motion", but the status of the talks remains unclear, reports the Wall Street Journal. It is also unclear how would Microsoft and Nokia jointly manage RIM, given the fact that Nokia competes with RIM on the market of mobile phones, whereas Microsoft competes with RIM on the market of software, yet would be glad to plant its Xbox Live service onto Blackberry platform. Both Nokia and Microsoft may also be more interested in RIM's patents and not the company itself.
Research in Motion itself still hopes to solve its ongoing problems - which are rather massive and recently the company's stock hit multi-year lows - itself and thus has turned down all the proposals to acquire the company. Still, the fact that multiple firms are investigating ways to take over RIM clearly shows that the firm is not that strong today to keep itself independent and may be forced into a deal by its investors.
With the global trend towards consumerization of IT and necessity for very robust services on mobile devices, it is pretty clear that for RIM it will be extremely tough to make its Blackberry smartphones and tablets competitive against Apple iOS, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone platforms. Since the company's Blackberry 10 platform (former BBX) yet has to prove its viability both among software makers and among end users, the number of options for RIM is running out.