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Next to fall, RIM? BlackBerry maker urged to sell itself or patents.

We all know what happened with webOS and HP and before that Nokia's Symbian, but what about RIM's BlackBerry? Like Palm, they too were on top of their game just a few years ago but with Android and the iPhone everywhere these days, RIM is taking a beating. Their stock has lost almost half their value this year and things are not looking that much better with their "next gen" QNX operating system.

Now Jaguar Financial Corp. is publicly calling on RIM to either sell itself off or its patents "to boost investor returns". While Jaguar's exact amount in investment in RIM is not known, they are considered to be a major player and can evidently gain headlines when they throw their weight around. Either way, it's never a good thing when your investors are calling on you to get out of the game.

Companies have been in the same position as RIM before--Microsoft just two years ago and Palm before that. While Microsoft's story is yet to be finished, they have certainly fared better than Palm, who was bought out by HP and then subsequently had their hardware killed off, leaving webOS without much of a future. Which route will RIM go? We can't help but notice that they don't have a large developer ecosystem, a desktop OS, a gaming platform or any other source of revenue--the exact opposite of Apple, Google and Microsoft. To that end, we don't see RIM holding on much longer as they won't be able to make a dent in the all important consumer market.

So would Microsoft buy RIM if given the opportunity? Ballmer seemed lukewarm to the idea back in January, but perhaps if the price is right and those patents are for sale they'd change their tune.

Stay tuned...

Source: Bloomberg/SF Gate

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Reader comments

Next to fall, RIM? BlackBerry maker urged to sell itself or patents.

15 Comments

lol at RIM , i can see this happening considering there OS is basically Black on White text with BBm and true push e-mailing.as for MS going after the patens , i dont think soo. MS is already investing allot into Kinnect/WP7/W8+tablet +Nokia ++++++like Ballmer said in JAN, even doh they have some 40billion$$ sitting in under MS`s pillow. they have alote more on their minds right nowim expecting to see google go after RIM if any one lol.. just so they can waist an other 12billion lolP.S that SIMPSON IS CLASIC!!!! **they have the internet on Computers now??** LMAO!!

I really don't understand whos mnaking a decision to have a green light when the next phones are presented to hiim/her. I mean it is really not that hard to sell lots of phones. The soluttion? Make a good looking handsets and people will buy it. I mean really whos making those decisions?

If Google did make a play for RIM MS would be hard pressed to just allow it, grabbing Motorola mobility and it's junk patents is one thing but RIM should have quite a few patents that are worth it.Also, it would play into MS's enterprise hands, WP7 doesn't have enough enterprise features and MS is always gunho on the enterprise. If RIM keeps dropping marketshare like it has been once the stock price is right MS could make a big and snatch it up. MS already does have a deal with RIM over using Bing as the main search service on Blackberrys.

This is not really similar to Microsoft because the mobile industry has little effect on Microsoft's bottom line. Almost all of RIM's money comes from Mobile services and Devices which is scary for investors!!

RIM will never go away. They may have dropped a spot. But they can provide something NO one else can provide. Top level security. They are the only ones who have been approved for top level government use.

If they sell it wouldn’t matter cause the security Paten would go with the company buying them.i only like to support RIM because its a Canadian company , aside from that , they are black on white…nothing special.I can see RIM going away in 2-3 years to be honest.

I love BB's. I haven't seen their new OS. But as far as notifications and Push goes. No one out there can do it like RIM does.

Ahem.... Latest Mobile Sales Stats from GartnerYes, RIM has been going down but is still 10% higher in terms of Market Share than Microsoft.As others have pointed out here in the comments, Microsoft has made a business out of making tools for businesses but a year later and Windows Phone still isn't "Enterprise Ready".The author states that RIM hasn't made a dent in the Consumer Market but oddly enough, they've made a much bigger dent there than Microsoft's Windows Phone has.Come on now, is this really how Windows Phone will "Win", buy or destroy all the competition in court? Really?I would much rather see Microsoft really focus on Windows Phone. They need to make it good for everyone, Developers, IT, the Enterprise and average Consumers.Stop Patent Trolling all the competition and demanding "Patent Agreements" from every Android handset maker and focus on making a good phone that consumers really want.I would have much more respect for Microsoft if they did it the right way. Using slimy tactics to destroy or discredit the competition in hopes that they can win over the small handfuls of people who believe their FUD is pretty lame.Look at Nokia, Symbian isn't dead. Have you seen their latest "Belle" update? It actually looks pretty good. It's no where near ready to compete with iOS or Android but it shows that there is still a strong desire at Nokia to see that Symbian lives on. What about MeeGo? That actually borrows some of the best features from iOS, Android and WP7 to make one pretty nifty OS but Microsoft has persuaded Nokia to not sell it in the United States. Why? What are they afraid of? By the way, the MeeGo can even run Android Apps via the Alien Dalvik VM which could make it a killer phone.Interestingly enough, many business people still use BlackBerry devices and many still plan on upgrading to the next release when they can. While some business users have left BlackBerry, they have gone to iPhone which oddly enough, has better Microsoft Windows Enterprise features than Windows Phone.BlackBerry and iPhone pretty much rule the Business World.iPhone rules the Business and Consumer Worlds.Android rules the U.S. Department of Defense.Android has more phones than any of them and thus it fills the gaps around them all.Then you have Windows Phone that dominates the Microsoft Solution Developers World.Turn that around.Find a way to win over Consumers and the Business/Enterprise World and do it without destroying your competition through the court system or through Corporate Takeovers.Please don't take my comments as "Windows Phone Sucks". I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is that Microsoft so far, hasn't proven that they are focused enough on this platform. They are more focused on leveling the playing field so they can sweep in and pick up the pieces.Is that what anyone really wants? A "win" by proxy?That's just lame.

"Yes, RIM has been going down but is still 10% higher in terms of Market Share than Microsoft."The question is 6 months ago what percentage of market share did RIM have?"As others have pointed out here in the comments, Microsoft has made a business out of making tools for businesses but a year later and Windows Phone still isn't "Enterprise Ready"."You should know that WP OS is MS's attempt to go consumer first and enterprise second. They made this clear from day one. It hasn't even been a year yet but it shouldn't be hard to see they are gearing up the push for enterprise as well. Besides, it is harder for MS to make a name in the consumer market than in the business market which is why most of their resources are going towards the former."The author states that RIM hasn't made a dent in the Consumer Market but oddly enough, they've made a much bigger dent there than Microsoft's Windows Phone has."Making a "dent" implies they both are new to the consumer market when in fact, only one truly is... Windows Phone OS. Blackberries have been used in the consumer market for years so if anything, they made their "dent" years ago and had plenty of time to do it unlike WP OS.At the end of the day, it really matters to investors which arrow is pointing up and which one is pointing down, regardless of what market share they currently hold.

Nonsense... Blackberry is number 1 in whole South America... everyone who had an iphone sold it and bought Blackberry (nobody has android, lots of people have nokia), some people don't even consider buying an iphone.... and right now RIM is opening Blackberry factories everywhere in South America!

This is so true. Those Jaguar Financial guys are just looking at US numbers, without bothering to see BlackBerry has recently become a huge hit in other markets, such as Latin America.Panama has seen an explosive amount of growth in number of BB users, to the point that I'm the only one of my 50+ classmates that doesn't have one. However, Android is starting to catch up...

While certainly true, I think some investors are looking more down the road--what is RIMs ultimate game plan in the consumer space? Or rather, does anyone have confidence in RIMs future offerings? So far, the consensus seems to be skeptical which is perhaps what is bothering investors...