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?
‘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
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.