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