Microsoft is ‘keeping an eye’ on BlackBerry, apparently has interest in a potential acquisition

Ian Hardy

September 3, 2013 5:46 pm

The news of Microsoft swooping up Nokia’s Devices & Services division for $7.2 billion ripped through the web last night. Many analysts were quick to assume that BlackBerry – who’s also seeking a sale or partnership – has lost its place in the mobile space and a potential buyer.

However, a report in Bloomberg just might keep the rumours going. According to unknown people ‘familiar with the matter,’ Microsoft “is keeping an eye on BlackBerry” and that the main reason for possibly considering acquiring the Waterloo-based company is for its strong presence in the enterprise market.

A month ago BlackBerry announced that they organized a special committee to “explore strategic alternatives” that could include “possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the Company or other possible transactions.”

BlackBerry and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS have been battling for 3rd place in the mobile phone OS war for the past several year. Leading the way is Google’s Android OS and Apple’s iOS. BlackBerry has over 69 million BlackBerry subscribers and over 60 million BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) subscribers.

Source Bloomberg
  • southerndinner

    Too little too late for BBRY to matter

    • FuzzyFish6

      I’ve never heard of that before.

      You’re so original and intelligent.

  • jackjiarocks

    MSFT is on a shopping sphere?

    • Ballack

      They are so rich that buying BlackBerry for them is like shopping strawberry in stores for us. MSFT should prepare some gifts for the coming CEO.

  • Igor Magun

    I can see why they might be interested in such a deal, but it’d almost certainly mean the death of BlackBerry 10 – a real shame, because the OS has huge potential. It just needs the right corporate support (i.e. someone with a lot of money to throw around) to thrive.

    • Sweet

      Agreed. BB10 is far superior to WP. It would be a real shame to scrap it in favour of WP.

    • iPlunks

      in what way? BB10 used UI and functionality from WP7. BB10 used android as a crutch and to which ended up hurting thing helping. If the Android runtime was not on the 10s, they would be in a better position.

    • JTon

      UI and functionality from WP7? What do you mean?

    • iPlunks

      tiles and people hub for starter and lets not begin with Meego with their swipe action

    • Sweet

      Off the top of my head, and keeping in mind that I demoed a WP phone several months ago, but didn’t use day-to-day: BB10′s Peek, Flow, Hub, virtual keyboard & notification management are superior to what WP offers. IMO, WP’s people hub is better than what BB10 offers, but it’s really only useful for new contacts, similar to when you check out a person’s profile before accepting their friend request on FB.

    • iPlunks

      Im sure I wasn’t reffering to Peek, Flow and Hub for WP8. Aside from the keyboard and notifications that’s nothing Meego (Nokia) had already done

    • Mark

      I think one needs to be sacrificed for both to survive. Both together would make a good united front and provide health competition, something that would benefit Android and Apple in the long run.

      I think it makes sense for BB to abandon it’s software and concentrate on the hardware. There are physical keyboard loyalists out there, and they’re stubborn. Add the best proprietary elements of that secure platform to WP and the remains of Nokia and you might just get a viable userbase to support an ecosystem – that’s something Micorsoft hasn’t quite mastered and RIM totally missed the boat on.

      More competition is better, so GO RIM, or whatever they’re called.

      Sent from my Android

  • cumiastowski

    Gaining the BES / Mobile Fusion / installed base would be the only good reason for them to do this … and can’t say it’s a crazy idea.

  • JB

    Not happening.

    • DickGozinya

      That’s right, because NO ONE wants them.

    • FuzzyFish6

      No company would want their patent portfolio? Nobody would want their enterprise install base and infrastructure?

      You’re indeed naive and ignorant lol.

    • DickGozinya

      No. That would be you. If anyone wanted anything to do with them it would have happened already, since theyve been up for sale for well over 18 months now. Someone could possibly use their patents, but they’ll only take them at fire sale prices which they know will be an eventuality. If you don’t see that no one can help you.

    • FuzzyFish6

      Funny how you go from “NO ONE wants them” to “they’ll only take them at fire sale prices” in a span of 2 replies.

    • thisiscjay

      Don’t pay attention to “Bbrysucks” new account. New name, same trash..

    • Mark

      Up for sale? What are you talking about? RIM/BB, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all public companies. They’ve all been ‘up for sale’ and actively traded for years.

  • VH

    Great! This means the NSA will now get data from all phones by using just three vendors!

  • Rich

    Well, part of the complicated matter is that these two companies are essentially bitter rivals at this moment.

    So for Microsoft to have a better grasp of whether to purchase BB (or part of it), Blackberry would have to show its hand or “the books” sort of speak. This could be disadvantageous. In the past, it’s believed BB has been quite tight lipped and this is why potential buyouts in the past failed to materialize.

    • ns.dev

      It’s amazing how easily money can turn bitter rivals into buddies.

  • FlageJan1

    oh god no…please don’t…

  • kirilmatt

    If MSFT buys them, RIM will be shutdown basically… Personally, I don’t care, but I’m sure many other people will. I am very happy about the Nokia deal and I think it will benefit WP, MSFT and consumers. MSFT has enough money to turn the lumia line into a real winner and it can closely software and devices.

    • FuzzyFish6

      Ya I think you’re right. RIM/BB will be out of the hardware and consumer business if MS gobbles them up. No doubts about it.

    • kirilmatt

      All I hope is that, if this does happen, that MSFT will use what it bought you benefit consumers. I wouldn’t want MSFT to purchase RIM and simply destroy it. At least use its IP. We’ll see what happens.. As I said, I don’t care much about RIM, I never liked their products, but some will certainly be unhappy.

    • FuzzyFish6

      MS will never simply buy BB to destroy it, that doesn’t make any financial sense for MS.

      It’ll be to strengthen their enterprise offerings and installed base.

      Thanks for not turning this into a troll sh!t-tossing fest. You don’t have to like a product or company to have a rational discussion about them. Nice change of pace around these parts lol.

    • kirilmatt

      They might gain some IP and such, but one main reason would be to crush BB10. This leaves no competition for the 3rd spot and they can focus on apple and android. Personally I like WP8 more and I think it is winning and will win the battle for 3rd. I think 3 platforms is all there should really be. Fragmenting the developer community is a bad situation for consumers and devs. If WP8(or BB10) had the same app selection as android and iOS then it would have a much bigger market share. I’d even say higher then iOS.

    • FuzzyFish6

      I definitely see WP as the next up and comer if MS does it right. Mobile OS seems to have a peak lifespan of 4-5 years or so before the mainstream consumer changes their sentiments.

      Currently, from media reports so far MS doesn’t even sound like they considering BB10 as a competitor.

    • kirilmatt

      I don’t know about 4-5 years, don’t know where you’re getting that from. MSFT is competing with RIM in a sense, however they are going in different directions. RIM is going downhill, while WP8 is growing quite strongly. What I do worry about is what MSFT partners will do with WP8. If they drop it this could hurt MSFT. However nokia was by far the best OEM.

    • FuzzyFish6

      Nokia>Motorola>Palm>BB>iOS>Android.

      All of those OS/brands were all leading players in the mobile space going back to the early dumbphone days. All peaked for a little bit and were eventually toppled by the succeeding OS/company.

      MS right now has no real partner aside from Nokia (Nokia is no longer a partner now, I guess). HTC and Samsung never took WP seriously.

    • kirilmatt

      That is correct, but there’s no indication that that will continue. Besides that, its not like Apple has completely fallen like all the other companies you listed. Samsung made terrible WP8 devices. HTC’s 8X and 8S were nice. The problem was Nokia’s phones were much better. Microsoft couldn’t have really asked for a better phone hardware manufacturer then Nokia. Their hardware is superb.

    • FuzzyFish6

      Well the indication is history, whereas there is zero indications that it won’t keep happening (i.e. nobody has been able to reverse that trend, ever).
      Android could buckle that trend because of it’s sheer size and the number of companies that uses it, but unless Google is really on their game consumers will just get bored of it like they did iOS.

      You’re right that iOS hasn’t completely fallen off, but I’m talking about peak lifespan. The general consensus among techies and mainstream consumers is definitely that it’s no longer the tech darling that it was in 2011.

    • realitycheck

      flawed logic. if they crush bb10 there is no guarantee that the bb10 user base will migrate to WP. There is however a significantly more chance for that user base to go android or iphone and 3percent to WP.

    • kirilmatt

      Not flawed. MSFT doesn’t care about RIMs very small user base. However new smartphone users will have no fourth option to compete with WP8

    • realitycheck

      that made no sense, what does that have to do with crushing bb10?

      People that like blackberry’s do not necessarily like WP. it would be a complete waste of resources to try and crush bb10.

    • ns.dev

      I could see MS releasing a business orientated Nokia with dual-boot BB10 (work use) & WP8 (home use), with some sort of cross compatibility.

    • kirilmatt

      I can’t really see it.. What I can see is integrating the BB email and security features into WP8. That would be perfect and there would be no need to reboot to change OSes and all that. People want to have access to business and home at the same time.

    • FuzzyFish6

      The so called BB security is baked into the OS, or so say BB themselves (of course they would). The email you mentioned would be BES/BES10/Fusion, MS would definitely have a use for that.

      “People want to have access to business and home at the same time.”

      BB10 already have this built in, called BB Balance.

    • kirilmatt

      RIM’s security features could be integrated into WP8. Obviously it isn’t just super simple but its no different to integrating into BB10 from BB7. The fact of the matter is that if MSFT is buying RIM then they will never use BB10, I’m pretty sure they will kill it. Therefore these features will either be used in WP8, windows 8 or other MSFT software or it will not be used at all.

    • FuzzyFish6

      I think you’re confusing the two. The security of the handsets themselves and security of BES.

      BB10 is brand new from the ground up and shares nothing with BB7, while both OS can run on the BES(10) backend for enterprise deployment.

      BB10 is dead if MS were to buy BB, no doubt.

    • kirilmatt

      Yes I know that. But OS security features are RIM’s IP. This IP can be applied to any OS. It could be applied to WP8.

    • FuzzyFish6

      They can get WP to run on BES for sure, but BB insisted that the security benefits for BB10 was built from the ground up because of the mico-kernel nature of QNX.

    • kirilmatt

      They can insist that, but the fact is that MSFT could use RIM’s IP to make the whole OS more secure. They could build much of that IP into the WP8 kernel or even the Windows 8 kernel.

    • FuzzyFish6

      Here’s the thing, if BB10 is indeed “secure” because of QNX, you can’t just implement that into WP.

      QNX’s micro-kernel is what makes it secure because it divides up individual processes into their own sandboxes, according to BB. MS will have to rebuild WP using QNX, which won’t happen.

    • kirilmatt

      But BB7 wasn’t built on QNX and it was very secure. True, all of their security IP might not be usable. But I’m sure much of it is.

    • FuzzyFish6

      BB7 was secure because of BES. This was a misconception that all BBOS devices were secure, regular BBOS devices running BIS is just insecure as anything out there at the time.

      BBM was another story altogether though.

      Edit: I guess there’s another part of it as well, BBOS never had any (many?) malicious apps because the OS couldn’t run many apps to begin with. So the outdated OS itself was part of the reason why it was “secure”.

  • John David Douglas Marshall

    It’s like Microsoft is gathering as many allies as it can for an all-out assault against Google.

  • Sweet

    My fingers are crossed that this doesn’t happen. BB10 is superior to WP.

    • FuzzyFish6

      BB10 and WP both have positives and negatives, in fact their pros and cons are pretty much the opposite of each others lol.

      It would be a shame if BB10 dies off from a sale of BB.

    • thisiscjay

      I see MSFT and BB10 as the baby versions of Google and iOs

    • kirilmatt

      BB10 isn’t a bad OS, but I wouldn’t say its better then WP8.

  • Matt Z10

    I would be pretty okay with MSFT using the gesture based interactions of BB10 with its own os. I don’t mind WP8 but it really is like all the rest of them. BB10 was actually a blast to use for me and putting it in league with a powerhouse combo would hopefully yield some interesting results for both consumer and business users alike?

  • downhilldude

    That’s the Kiss of Death, as Microsoft has no luck in the hardware market.

  • villain

    If MS bought BBRY is going to be entirely to optain BBRY’s patents. No one is interested in the BB10 OS.

  • Dr. Marvin Lara

    I’ve met maybe 3 people who have a Windows phone. How the hell are they battling BlackBerry for 3rd???

  • Diderot

    Yes, because what Microsoft needs is a second OS and a second hardware department. I don’t trust this “unknown people ‘familiar with the matter’ “.

  • K_p0w3r

    why work for market share when you can just buy it