The Sunday Times: RIM considers selling handset division to Facebook or Amazon

June 25, 2012
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Once upon a time, there was a small Canadian-based telecommunication company that mesmerized the entire world, growing and innovating at an unprecedented pace. The Prince Charming-like RIM sold millions and millions of Blackberries each year, netting incomes that the competition couldn’t even dream of.

However, the fairytale ended as abruptly as it started for Research in Motion, a company that is now closer to bankruptcy than it is to world domination. The “Really Irrelevant Manufacturer”, as our friend Sam Cater called it in a very interesting opinion piece from back April, is now holding less than 15% of the worldwide smartphone market, being crushed by Android and iOS devices and heading to defeat against Windows Phone gadgets, too.

RIM’s CEOs and co-founders, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, resigned a few months ago, but the company isn’t doing any better under new German leadership. We’ve all been waiting to see what kind of changes Blackberry undertakes in order to avoid further financial disasters. The latest AP reports proves, if accurate, that RIM is looking to finally sell its handset business.

Confidential sources state that there are already two potential buyers negotiating with RIM for the company’s handset division, which are two huge names in today’s online industry. Facebook and Amazon have been linked with plans of manufacturing smartphones in the past, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that their names are now mentioned in connection with RIM’s phone business.

As you might imagine, nobody at RIM, Amazon or Facebook has been willing to comment on the rumors which adds a bit of credibility to the reports. Another possibility for RIM to get out of the pickle they’ve gotten themselves into would be keeping the company together, but the selling of stocks to Microsoft.

Again, there’s no way to know whether Microsoft would be interested in acquiring some part of RIM’s stocks, so for the time being, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves and remember that we’re only dealing with speculations. The reports also state that regardless if RIM decides to put any of the two plans into action, the company will be looking to keep its enterprises services for itself.

What are your views on the report? Do you think that Amazon or Facebook would be interested in taking over RIM’s handset business? If so, do you think that they’ll keep manufacturing what we know as Blackberries, or they’ll shift the division’s policy altogether? Finally, what would be a fair price to pay for RIM’s smartphone business, in your opinion?

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