RIM CEO: Company could still sell off hardware division

On January 30, Research in Motion will be holding a number of press events around the world to formally announce the launch of its first BlackBerry 10 smartphones. While much of the details of those phones have already been leaked to various Internet outlets, there's been lots of hope that the BB10 launch will boost RIM's market share in the smartphone market.

But will RIM have to eventually sell off its hardware business in order to stay afloat? That may still be on the table, according to the company's CEO Thorsten Heins. Reuters reports that Heins, speaking with German newspaper Die Welt earlier today, said a strategic review of RIM could show that selling off its hardware division might still be a good idea.

Another option might be to sell licensing for its BlackBerry OS to third-party makers, similar to what Google does with Android and Microsoft does for Windows Phone. However, the final decision won't be made until after the launch of BlackBerry 10, as Heins said, "The main thing for now is to successfully introduce Blackberry 10. Then we'll see."

RIM's stock price has jumped way up in the days ahead of its press announcement next week. In the past two weeks, the price has gone up a whopping 35 percent.

Source: Reuters | Image via RIM

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That is not a good thing to announce right before you release new hardware and a platform... I surely would have less confidence in the product now if not just for fear of them dropping support immediately if it is not meeting their or other (analyst) lofty expectations... caugh-caugh I'm talking to you HP!!!

I suspect that Microsoft must be hoping that RIM fails, if for no other reason to solidify Microsoft as the third horse in the race.

I wonder if Microsoft would be willing to buy RIM, and then incorporate BBM along with other enterprise features into Exchange (or separately into Outlook) and WP. I'd rather see that than Google or Apple pick it up. Google would support it for a minimum amount of time (e.g., Exchange support), and Apple would claim that they would open it as a published standard with no real plan to do so (e.g., FaceTime).

That would definitely help MS in the enterprise market as pretty much everyone supports Exchange, BlackBerry, or both. They could then go further to spin off the hardware division, or even use it to produce Windows Phones. With that said, BlackBerry has been behind the curve (no pun intended) in terms of modern hardware. We'll have to wait to see how well the BB10 hardware competes with the Lumia 920, iPhone 5, and Galaxy S III. Until it's out, it's anyone's guess as to how the hardware will actually feel (for me, the Lumia 920 feels impressively good in the hand [ignoring weight], the iPhone 5 feels pretty good [ignoring weight], and the Galaxy S III feels too cheap, but that's Samsung's plastic and I felt the same way about their Windows Phone lineup).

I can't say that RIM is going to be too successful in getting third parties to license BB10. Frankly, it offers very little differentiation from Android in particular, and Android has a developed phone ecosystem. They also have no experience doing it.

pickypg said,

Think MS might scavange patents, not an outright purchase.

Device (z10) feels good. somewhere between iPhone5 and Lumia920. Weight is nice, industrial feel.
Not sold on all the L or 7 shaped gestures tho......

Licensing BlackBerry OS, are they serious? BB10 is a new OS which will no doubt have launch bugs, missing/incomplete features and few apps. It's not exactly the kind of thing that will do well being licensed in a saturated market. Especially with M$ competing in the same market for the little markethshare that is up for grabs.

BB is all about the hardware, its software is the problem. BB10 might fix this but throwing away their last unique selling point would be beyond stupid.

Ronnet said,
its software is the problem. BB10 might fix this ....

It doesn't.
WP has spoiled me to what a fast and fluid UI is supposed to be.
BB10 is on par with Android Donut release in terms of fast and fluid gui.

Similarly Apple bought NeXTSTEP which is the basis of all their products now although I don't think they would ever consider licensing OS X.

But Apple is a devices and services company, the OS is just one part of the show. I highly doubt RIM would EVER be profitable by just licensing the OS or whatever this article implies.

bviktor said,
whatever this article implies.

Following proven strategies like Nokia.
Nokia used to have a hardware division, now the assembly is outsourced to cheaper companies.
That's my take away.

Again, you're comparing pears to apples. RIM owns a totally separate ecosystem, Nokia does not. RIM alone will not be sufficient to promote their own stuff. RIM is (was) only popular in the USA, Nokia was popular everywhere except in the USA. Bad news for RIM: the rest of the world is a bit bigger than the USA.

I thought I recall reading that they're pretty big in places like india and other countries. Its those markets keeping them going.

Edited by Spyder, Jan 21 2013, 9:49pm :