Samsung lined up for RIM stake again
Renewed speculation that Korean giant would license BlackBerry 10 and take RIM on first step to dumping handsets
Published: 20 March, 2012
The rumors that Samsung wants to buy RIM, or at least license its software, refuse to die, despite the Korean firm explicitly denying any interest back in January. The BlackBerry maker's shares rose by almost 5% on Friday on speculation that Samsung could take a minority stake and a licence for the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, which unifies RIM's handset and tablet operating systems and promises a modern, cloud-oriented mobile system.
The latest rumors were sparked by a research note from Collin Gillis at BGC Partners, who speculates that the two companies might come to an agreement under which Samsung would make the smartphones to run BlackBerry 10 (BB10), in return for a stake which would give RIM a much needed boost to its finances and credibility.
The rationale is not obvious though. Samsung might snap up some of RIM's famous enterprise base, but that is being whittled away by 'bring your own device' policies and BB10 does not provide a smooth migration for loyal sites anyway. Instead, it would add yet another OS to Samsung's multifaceted armory, and it could do better to target the business market with a combination of Windows Phone and tailored Android-based offerings - as seen in its recent agreement with SAP to support corporate class device management and security on its Galaxy family.
Eric Savitz commented on Forbes: "Really, propping up a dying RIM would make zero sense for a company that has everything to gain and nothing to lose from seeing them swept from the playing field ... Let's not forget that there's a new OS in town - Windows Phone 7 - that is far, far more appealing than BlackBerry OS. Seriously, there is really no reason for Samsung to throw perfectly good cash into a dying dog like RIM."
Gillis wrote: "Obviously new management has been sitting down and saying 'maybe we could extend the platform and bring something new into the ecosystem'." He thinks Samsung would make an investment of about $1.5bn. With RIM's stock at an historic low, new CEO Thorsten Heins is facing pressure to break the company up or sell it off.