The on again, off again RIM rumours are back. In the past there’s been several rumours of RIM being the target of a takeover, or possibly licensing their upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS to other manufacturers. Samsung was apparently interested, but this rumour was quickly foiled in January when James Chung, Samsung spokesman, said “We haven’t considered acquiring the firm and are not interested in (buying RIM)”. Shortly after RIM’s co-CEO’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie decided to step down, thus ushering in a new direction with Thorsten Heins.
Heins stated on his first day as President and CEO that “I will not in anyway split this up or separate this into different businesses. Now on the licensing piece. I’m absolutely confident that BlackBerry 10 will prove itself as a platform. If there is requests coming towards Research In Motion to talk about licensing that platform to other companies I will entertain those discussions, I will listen, I will access the business opportunity for RIM and if it makes sense strategically and tactically to go down that path, and then I will make the decision together with the board. It’s not my focus one. My focus one is to strengthen RIM’s business based on that integrated approach.”
Fresh, re-visited, rumours have once again surfaced today. A report in the Barron’s today states that the reason RIM’s stock (RIMM) is up over 5% today is because Samsung, according to Collin Gillis with BGC Partners, “is looking to make a minority investment in the company and to develop phones based on RIM’s forthcoming “BBX” operating system, which RIM is counting on to resuscitate the company’s phone portfolio.”
Apparently the reason why Samsung is expressing interest in RIM is because their nervous about the Google/Motorola acquisition and how it might impact Android. Samsung has also committed to producing handsets with Microsoft’s Windows Phone, but Gillis says “Obviously new management has been sitting down and saying, Maybe we could extend the platform and bring something new into the ecosystem”. As for timing? Gillis was also quoted to say “I could give you a better answer in the fall… When we see how much the platform has deteriorated”.
RIM is expected to launch new smartphones with the BlackBerry 10 OS “in the latter part of this year”. They have already started to reach out to the developer community and will most likely showcase the platform off in May during BlackBerry World.