August 10, 2012

Is IBM Going To Buy RIM’s Enterprise Services?

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

RIM´s slow decent from super stardom hasn´t been good for anyone. RIM employees and anyone else whose livelihood depends on the success of the BlackBerry maker has likely had a rough few years. Even those once-loyal BlackBerry users have had to watch their hopes of carrying around qwerty keyboards die a slow, agonizing death. On the other hand, those companies looking to pick up a few pieces of RIM´s business or patents have found themselves in a buyer´s market, so to speak. Now, Bloomberg is reporting one such company, IBM, is interested in taking RIM´s enterprise services unit off their hands.

Citing those sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg is reporting IBM has made an “informal approach” to RIM about the possibilities of acquiring their enterprise services division, which is used to support BlackBerrys the world over. According to Berenberg Bank, this division could be worth anywhere from $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion, depending on the assets.

Though talks have been surfacing more and more lately of possible buyers for the whole of RIM, no company has expressed any direct concern in taking on the failing Canadian company. Most recently, Samsung denied any rumors of their wanting to purchase RIM or license out their BB10 operating system.

According to Bloomberg, RIM is waiting to rollout their delayed BB10 OS and new BB10 phones early next year before they decide if or what to sell. RIM´s new BB10 has been seen as their Hail Mary pass, their last chance to revive and catch up with an industry nearly four years ahead of them.

Concerning RIM´s enterprise services unit, analyst Adnaan Ahmad with Berenberg bank told Bloomberg, “If they were to offload this, they are offloading their jewel.”

“They want to give BlackBerry 10 a go, so I don´t think this would happen until next year.”

RIM was once a smartphone leader, and helped to drive the popularity of these ever-connected devices in the early days. When Android and Apple first came on to the scene, however, creating more lust-worthy devices capable of better web surfing and better stocked with third-party apps, RIM struggled to keep up.

BlackBerry 10 is expected to be the culmination of all RIM has learned from their past few years of failures, integrating a touchscreen keyboard and social features as well as pushing for a more robust app selection for their users. Yet, as the world anxiously waits to see if this will truly be RIMs last chance to become a real competitor in this market, development and engineering issues have twice delayed the release of BB10 and BB10 devices.

Additionally, RIM has been looking for ways to attract third-party developers who have also left the dying platform in search of active users on Apple´s iOS and Google´s Android platforms. RIM continues to lose developers, such as the New York Times, who dropped their app last month, focusing on Android and Apple devices.

It´s been noted before: Now is not a good time to be associated with RIM. Those on the outside, however, might be getting ready for the inevitable fire sale to take place whenever they finally decide to leave the market, and if these sources are correct, IBM could be one of the first.