Things are looking grim for Research in Motion. The Canadian company responsible for the BlackBerry last week announced it would be further delaying its BlackBerry 10 smartphone operating system until early 2013, which sent share prices into freefall. Now, RIM executives are fighting for ways to stay alive, even going so far as to consider a partnership with Microsoft.
According to Reuters, sources familiar with the thought process of RIM’s management claim that the company is now considering its options, given it has lost $US4.1 billion in market value over the past 12 months. One option is a partnership with Microsoft, similar to the Microsoft/Nokia deal, which would see all BlackBerry handsets running the Windows Phone 8 operating system. As well as not having the expenses of developing its own OS, it would also bring Microsoft dollars into the company as Redmond pumped in marketing dollars.
However, it would also mean the end of BlackBerry as we know it, ensuring RIM cedes control of its technological independence.
Another alternative could be the separation of RIM’s network and handset businesses, which could lead to other smartphones offering BlackBerry’s hyper-secure email services on their own devices. The downside of this option is that it would essentially mean the end of the BlackBerry handset, as competition from Android, iOS and even Windows Phone has already eroded the Canadian company’s market share, despite this corporate advantage.
Ultimately though, RIM is going to have to do something. Constantly dropping share prices, continuously delayed products and staff redundancies are not going to turn the smartphone company’s fortunes around any time soon.