RIM is about to release its latest BlackBerry 10 platform by next week. But even with this new development, the Canadian company is not off the hook when it comes to its market predicament. BlackBerry is a platform on the decline, and apart from BB10, RIM is thinking of ways to revitalize its business. Among the possibilities is licensing is operating system or even selling off its hardware division.
There are no definite plans nor confirmations at this point, although RIM CEO Thorsten Heins’ openness to these possibilities has caught the attention of other major players in the mobile business. Chinese company Lenovo, for one, has revealed it is looking into expanding its hardware business, and a possible deal with RIM might be on the horizon.
Lenovo is known in the western markets for its notebook computers, although the Chinese firm is also known for its Android smartphones in China and other Asian markets. Still, Lenovo wants to establish a more significant presence in the U.S. and other international markets. However, there is no clear indication whether Lenovo wants to simply partner with RIM to license its latest operating system, its enterprise services or acquire its entire hardware division.
“We are looking at all opportunities — RIM and many others,” said Lenovo CFO Wong Wai Ming in a Bloomberg report. “We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.”
Will this be a smart move for Lenovo? Remember how the company recently splits its business into the Lenovo Business Group and the Think Business Group. The former will cater to the mainstream consumer market, while the Think group will cater to the company’s important enterprise market. Given BlackBerry’s earlier focus on the corporate and enterprise market, taking the platform within its wings would strengthen Think’s position as an enterprise provider.
On related news, RIM’s shares rose with the reports of Lenovo’s interest. The Toronto Stock Exchange-listed shares rose 3%. Still analysts say RIM is likely to wait until it launches BlackBerry 10 before seriously considering partnerships or asset sales.