updated 09:00 pm EST, Tue December 20, 2011
Microsoft and Nokia had mulled joint RIM takeover
Following word of Amazon exploring a RIM deal, new rumors floated Tuesday had Microsoft and Nokia having considered taking over the company themselves. The two were said by the Wall Street Journal to have "flirted" with the prospect of a joint offer. Whether or not they were still interested, and whether RIM was aware it was an acquisition target, wasn't apparent.
The three companies meet regularly, but not all three at the same time. RIM has a deal with Microsoft for cloud services, while Nokia also talks to Microsoft for features like Exchange support.
Any acquisition would likely be a joint attempt to effectively buy market share. Microsoft and Nokia are both bleeding device share and may not necessarily turn around even after Nokia's launches of Windows Phones like the Lumia 800. Buying RIM would eliminate the BlackBerry as a competitor, especially in the enterprise world where Microsoft is still relatively safe in some areas.
Regardless of actions, RIM is thought to be buying time in the wake of its BlackBerry 10 phone delay. Among the options have been talk of trying to license BlackBerry 10 to HTC and Samsung, among others, without quitting its own work. Co-CEO Jim Balsillie has also supposedly been waiting on the first BlackBerry 10 phone to ship before seriously entertaining any acquisition talk, possibly to give an example of what a takeover could bring. No formal bids have surfaced so far, according to the sources.
In the meantime, Balsillie and fellow chief Mike Lazaridis are believed willing to cooperate with a management restructuring analysis whose results are due in January. Most outside of the company doubt that the recommendations will institute any major changes, however. RIM's CEOs are well-known for refusing to bend to pressure, arguing that only they can guide the transition to BlackBerry 10 and doing their best to minimize any chance investor groups might have at voting on an ouster.