updated 02:35 pm EDT, Thu August 30, 2007
Microsoft RIM Buyout Rumor
Microsoft may be interested in buying out Canada's Research in Motion, according to speculation by analysts and market observers. The action would reportedly be a preemptive move to shore up defenses against a rumored Google mobile OS that could pose a direct threat to Windows Mobile on cellphones. The claims have spurred a run on stocks of the Waterloo, Canada-based BlackBerry maker, which said it would never comment on "rumors and speculation" out of company policy, according to an official spokeswoman.
While the claim has so far been uncorroborated, a takeover of RIM would greatly consolidate Microsoft's share of the smartphone business as it would own both hardware and software, contrasting with the company's historical approach of licensing Windows Mobile to multiple handset makers. In contrast to its control of the computer market, Microsoft has typically lagged well behind the BlackBerry line in the US and the Symbian OS used by Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, and other manufacturers on the world stage.
A takeover may also be an attempt by Microsoft to mimic its strategy for the Zune, where the company largely abandoned an attempt to create an industry-wide (but Windows-based) standard in favor of an integrated design similar to that of the iPod. No mention was made in the speculation of whether Apple's early success with the iPhone would play into a possible Microsoft bid for RIM, which recently began enjoying its own success with the advent of the BlackBerry Curve and Pearl media phones.