in Public Relations

Why Apple will acquire BlackBerry

After another dire quarter, a clear out of top executives and an acceptance that partnership, licensing or sale were all possible paths for RIM make it almost inevitable – in my opinion – that RIM will be acquired.  In a report I heard new CEO Thorsten Heins seemed to suggest that, while a sale was not an option at the moment, it may be in the future.

I’ve been saying it for a while that I  believe we’ll see Apple acquiring the IP and assets of the company.  After today’s earnings announcement, the corporate reshuffle and the likely impact on the company’s share price, it’ll probably happen sooner than we think too.

Here’s a few reasons why:

  • RIM can’t survive many more quarters like this one.  It has to find a buyer sooner rather than later
  • Apple has huge cash reserves that mean it could outbid any of its competitors should RIM become the subject of a bidding war
  • Apple has the most to gain from adding secure email to its armoury.  It would add the most sought after business tool to its portfolio and stop the likes of Microsoft/Nokia, Samsung, LG etc. acquiring it for their handsets
  • Apple could become the darling of the Enterprise with BES running on iOS devices.  Corporate BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] strategies have grown in organizations because they reduce capital expense: basically, iPhones and iPads have been tolerated by corporate IT because users already own them. With BES on iOS devices Enterprise could build a device strategy around a single platform [iOS], rather than Windows, Android and iOS.
  • Corporate device strategies around a single platform would offer significant capital and operational economies of scale. The result of this would be large volumes of iPhones and iPads by corporate IT department
  • BES + iCloud would bring the benefits of secure email to consumers and smaller organizations.  While not a huge money-maker, it would give Apple something to beat its opponents with.

Samsung and Microsoft/Nokia have also been suggested as possible bidders for RIM… who else could you see throwing their hat into the ring?

Update:

RIMs hard choices: Five ways to rescue Canada’s tech icon‘ is an excellent article by Iain Marlow and Omar Elakkad for The Globe and Mail.  While I still believe that a sale is the most likely outcome, I hope that I’m wrong and that via a combination of 5 and 4 the company can find success.  Part of returning RIM to its former glory will require the development and execution of a complex communications strategy that is difficult to do successfully at the best of times… that said, with the vision and the will [both of which I believe the company has in abundance] to succeed, anything is possible.

Update – July 12 2012

I came across this great Infographic created by Firmex that looks at who might acquire RIM. I’ve posted it here

Update – Feb 21 2013

With both companies floundering – RIM’s stock is volatile and, if reports of lacklustre sales of the Z10 and carrier issues in the US are accurate, BlackBerry10 will have failed to turn the companies fortunes around.  Apple needs a clear differentiator to fight off the Android assault and with a new Samsung Galaxy S4 being slated to launch in March, adding secure email would give it a clear advantage at companies implementing BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] strategies AND give it a strong play in regulated industries like finance and government.  An Apple acquisition of BlackBerry’s mobile business, leaving the Waterloo company clear to focus on developing QNX, appears to make more sense than ever.

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  1. Although you do have some compelling points in this article, I don’t think that Apple will acquire RIM. They definitely have the power and financial backing to, but I’m sure they wouldn’t taint/dilute their iPhone brand by acquiring an outside firm. I did stumble onto an infographic on visual.ly (http://visual.ly/who-will-acquire-rim), which had a few other companies listed on it, and out of the 8, I would say that Microsoft would be the most likely to because they have acquired companies in the past, they do have the power as well as the financial backing.

    • The infographic is very interesting… and the recent rumours about IBM being interested in part of the business is an interesting addition to the debate. I agree that Apple would be unlikely to run RIM as a business unit, but the IP would be a compelling reason to acquire RIM in my opinion. An iPhone with encrypted email – especially at a time when Apple’s security credentials are coming under scrutiny by the media – would give it another differentiator over its competitors and offer untold marketing value.

      If nothing else, an Apple acquisition would stop it falling into the hands of Google, Samsung and a host of other handset companies that are trying to get an advantage. Huawei is another company that conceivably could be a suitor for RIM and, in the long-term, could pose the most serious threat to Apple.