Investment firm calls for RIM to adopt Windows Phone OS

There's little doubt that the once bulletproof Research in Motion (RIM) is now in dire-straits with their current lineup of BlackBerry devices--such a down fall has given Microsoft leg room to vie for third in the smartphone category worldwide. To combat their current downward trajectory, RIM is betting a lot on 'BlackBerry 10', but now the company has revealed that their next-generation OS and hardware won't be ready till late 2012. That delay has caused their stock to plummet, dropping 77% in the last year (12% just on Friday) and in addition, has caused many investors (and consumers) to lose faith that the company can recover.  Palm was in this same position with their transition from PalmOS to webOS and they didn't live to tell the tale. Microsoft too was in a similar position back with Windows Mobile--but Microsoft has other businesses and mobile, while important, is not make-or-break for the company.

Some investors have called for RIM to sell itself off or at least its patents. Others have called for their buyout, with some suggesting even Microsoft would be a good suitor (we're not convinced). Now, Evercore Partners, an investment banking advisory firm, is calling on RIM to adopt Windows Phone for their OS:

"We now believe that RIMM needs to adopt an existing ecosystem (Windows Phone) in order to remain a relevant player in the smartphone market"

Or as CNN put it, RIM needs to become the Canadian version of Nokia. Granted, Evercore is but one firm suggesting this but that is usually all that is needed to get people (and people with money) talking. We're not sure of the feasibility of such an adoption in the long run, but you have to admit, if RIM to did announce next week that they were switching to Windows Phone OS, they would certainly get a huge boost in their stock as a vote of confidence (or perhaps just relief). Microsoft too would gain much more gusto as they would have secured yet another prominent and reliable hardware partner--one with an outstanding reputation.

So while we don't see this actually happening, we sure do like the sound of it. In fact, it sounds a lot better than Microsoft buying RIM. We say let RIM live on,  but with another ghost in the machine.

Source: CNN Money; Image credit: Crackberry.comThanks, Paul C., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • It would be nice but I bet BBX will be available before than an eventual chassis 2 version of WP7, because as we can see, MS is kinda slow to do something more than bread and butter...
  • Like how Nokia has influenced the Chassis 1.5 requirements, a RIM deal would accelerate any hardware changes required by them.  And if you've seen some of the early BBX devices, they're basically Dell Venue Pros, so I'm not sure what we need to change. Either way, I'm willing to bet here and now we have Windows Phone 8 before BlackBerry 10 ;-)
  • Well that would be awesome if RIM switched to Windows Phone then. Dell has stated they won't be making more phones, though they may start again with WP8. I LOVE my DVP, but there doesn't seem to be any phone with a keyboard coming out to replace it.
  • No doubt in my mind. Brian. 
    I have to admit a vested interest here. While I'm carrying a BB Torch right now (work necessity), my son has my HD7, and I miss it. I am beginning to doubt anyone would have the time to fully develop BB10 to achieve what RIM is promising, and that factor is the real reason for the additional delay, rather than the hardware issue RIM is claiming. 
    A strategic alliance such as this would be beneficial for both corporations, and a win-win for all users.
    Which is why it will never happen. RIM won't be ready to throw in the towel until it's too late.
    As an add on, CrackBerry is not mentioning this at all.
  • I've often wondered if RIM would be able to combine WindowsPhone with the security of Blackberry's encrypted email, and have a product that offers more security than any other WindowsPhones. I'm not sure but I think Blackberry are the only phones not vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.
    I fear it's all for not though. RIM's shareholders have failed to get rid of the flailing CEOs, dispite the stock dropping 77% over the last year. What a shame.
  • Wow... This has the potential to be BIG. I'm not saying it's definitely going to happen, but just like Dan said all it takes is one group of people talking to get the other peeps talking. At that point it'll seem like RIM almost has no choice in the matter and would eventually just give in. That is of course only one of many likely scenarios, my question though would be: with Microsoft having such huge key partners (Nokia and RIM) apart from the normal HTC, Samsung, LG and the like... it would only be a matter of time before WP7 takes off and when it does, would Android and iOS even stand a chance anymore? (assuming that RIM did go with WP7)
    Edit: and the timeframe I'm talking about here is 1-2 years from now...
  • I don't see any way out for RIM. It's not like they have a patent on their keyboard. Additionally, I think that form factor is dead forever. I had the first RIM device. It was basically a bit bigger than a pager, had a green screen with 2 or 3 lines of text, and the keyboard. It only did email. It was absolutely revolutionary in 1999. A few years later they added cell phone capability and the form factor got bigger because of it. The big differentiator was their push email. Everything else up until then was POP3 or IMAP4. Then in 2005 Microsoft started doing push email with ActiveSync and it was the beginning of the end for RIM. When Apple licensed ActiveSync for the iPhone 2 that was the second nail in their coffin. Now Google also licenses ActiveSync. The only thing they have left is some instant messaging service that kids in Europe like. Whoopty do. They're dead and I can't see them succeeding even with WP as the OS. It's sad, but I will be happy to never have to manage BES ever again.
  • Firstly, they do have a patent on their keyboard. Why do you think every other portrait keyboard in existance is significanly sub-par. Secondly, and this is opinion on my part supported by millions of blackberry users, the form factor is far from dead. Blackberrys entire fan base (and there is a large fan base) swears by the form factor, and if someone else could leverage that (aka: Microsoft) it would add a ton of value and potential consumers. Add to that the difference in actual security that Blackberry devices have over other mobile devices, AND the consumer percieved difference in security, and you have a ton of value that could be added to Microsoft's portfolio in either a buy-out or a Nokia-esk deal.
  • OK, so be it on the form factor. I'm all for choices. I Have always hated the portrait keyboards, but I suppose people out there do like it. So the DVP keyboard is worse than a BB keyboard? However, the security is nothing that MS couldn't easily implement on their own. BitLocker mobile basically. And those without BES that give their user name and password to their carriers can't then claim superior security. I dunno. I still think they have nothing real to offer another tech company in terms of innovative Or unique features.
  • RIM would loose its identity if they adopt WP7! The stock won't cetainly not be bosst!
    But if they choose another system...between WP7 and Android, WP7 woud be teh best choice!
  • Did Nokia lose their identity? It sure doesn't look like it...
  • The only identity the BlackBerry name carries now is with BlackBerry Messenger, something they could easily port over to Windows Phone should they choose to adopt it.
  • RIM is a lame horse and someone needs to soot it and put it out of its misery.
  • As a current Blackberry user (9900) who is intrigued by WP, I'd like to see this. 
    Quite frankly, I prefer the design of the Blackberries (Primarily the Bold form factor ones), over other phones.  I love having a physical keyboard and theirs are exponentially better than the ones I have tried on other devices.  That being said, the only reason I upgraded to a Bold 9900 rather than WP recently is the lack of storage options on WP (16gb and no sd card). 
  • I don't like RIM devices but in the business world they have some features that are just not really there on the other platforms.
    1. Better data encryption.
    2. Built in Firewalls.
    3. Black Berry Enterprise Server (Central Management).
    I think any company, Android, MS, Apple can implement these features but focus on the consumer side features first. I get that but you do fall behind in the corporate world.
    Just my 2 cents.
  • Like you said, Microsoft certainly doesn't need help from RIM to implement these features (if they don't implement them in WP8 then that will be a huge fail). RIM has nothing except possibly patents.
  • and they still have a decent chunk of market share.
  • Maybe they can have an "enterprise" version of WP7 that implements them, but is only used w/ WP7's designed for buisness...and then have an option to switch to the consumer version when s/he leaves work 
  • I think at this point adopting Windows Phone 7 would also be the best choice for RIM... They've waited far too long to release an entirely new mobile OS platform... But who knows? Maybe they'll pull through with QNX and a few more $300 discounts on Playbooks???
  • clearly the blackberry software isnt cutting it in the consumer world but if they did adopt wp7 think about it it would be great for both companies it would spread awareness of wp7 and would make blackberry designs something to look at.. also when are we going to be able to comment on mobile wpcentral!!! lol
  • I say reave RIM alone. They are an excellent company. However, they sure could use a management shake-up.
  • If this does happen though, think Nokia would be mad?
  • Alright, this is actually the third time I have heard this in the last few days since the announcement that BBX was going to be delayed. The scenarios I've figured:
    Joint venture with MS ala Nokia.
    If this were to happen, it would have to be very public, very soon. The two CEOs of BlackBerry would have to be axed (they REALLY need to be in any situation). Just doing this would provide a boost in stock prices, perhaps enough to help keep the company afloat. The devices would not necessarily need to hit the market in a hurry,and  I think its quite evident that reverse engineering WP7 onto a BlackBerry would have more speed bumps than putting it on a Nokia phone, just because of the form and function of a Blackberry. This, in the long term, would probably be the most popular scenario for the share holders.
    MS Purchases BB.
    I think this would be hugely costly for MS off the bat. Supposedly a bid for the company could be in excess of three times what the stock currently sells at (btw the stock is currently trading for less than the actual company, were it to liquidate, is worth). I do think they would be able to get away with BlackBerry for far less than they paid for Skype, and I do think that BlackBerry, just in name and patent portfolio could be infinitely good for Microsoft. MS could incorporate BB Messenger onto the phones, app-style, along with the few exclusive features BB really does do better than it's competitors. I'd love to see what a slide-out amalgamation of a Microsoft and BlackBerry keyboard could look like. Google purchases BB.
    I don't think this is going to happen, and here's why: The FTC was already sneezing the word antitrust at Google, even before their purchase of Motorola Mobility. While I don't think buying BlackBerry would really trigger anything, it would be huge in building a future antitrust case against Google (there are more and more people in America feeling that this is not if, but when) and we already know how the EU feels towards the big G). The BB, running Android, is going to lose the vast majority of it's business world supporters, especially considering Android's less than stellar security record (hell, the President of the United States uses a  BlackBerry, albeit using a custom rom baked by the department of defense). Google would love to have those patents, too, but I really do not see them purchasing BB.
  • Don't get me wrong I love my Windows Phone but it has some major flaws that a Blackberry does not have.
    The BB device can be completely backed up, WP7? You loose everything except pictures etc.
    The BB can search within Calendar and Messeages etc, has a universal search.
    Better security and AES encryption.
    WP7 would be horrific on the BB Bold form style especially on the 2.8inch screen.
    The amount of options etc is much more matured as it has a 10 year history compared to WP.
    Maybe they make the consumer devices WP7 and business QNX but make it possible to have WP7 apps run on QNX?
  • No matter how i could accustomed to screen keyboard, i don't like using it for writing a long text, doesn't provide the sense of accuracy and always feels like i am guessing. That' why i went with Venue Pro and recently i fell in love with the keyboard on Bold 9950 i believe. And it got me to thinking if this Bold had WP7 on it, i would buy it in a heart beat.
  • blackberrry stye with WP OS hmmm i would like to see that
  • *waits for MS to buy Nokia and strike a deal with RIM like they had with Nokia*
  • It seems like Research in Motion's stock price has to dip below $10 a share before they do something drastic. I bet they're already at the negociating table with Microsoft in some way shape or form.
  • I love that picture, hahaha! I'm sure this has people talking, but I wouldn't take it a serious suggestion for at least another year. RIM is investing too much money in their 2012 line-up. If THAT fails, then yeah. All bets are off. In the meantime, I doubt we'll see RIM taking any sudden moves.
  • I wouldn't trust an Investment Advisory Firm that can't even spell the name of the company right..
    "We now believe that RIMM needs to adopt an existing ecosystem (Windows Phone) in order to remain a relevant player in the smartphone market"
  • RIMM = stock symbol for Research in Motion.
  • I have to admit i feel sorry for RIM, i have always liked their blackberrys but they haven't really caught up like social networking side apps etc :(
    but ooo adopting windows phone sounds like a good idea though id love to see some of the phones they would come up with :)
  • I was the tipster on this article and when I read that part of it I had to forward it to WPCENTRAL!  Its very interesting to say the least.