Monday, June 25, 2012

RIM rumored mulling split of company into hardware, messaging network divisions

As RIM continues to struggle, perhaps matched in the size of its problems only by Finland's Nokia, the latest rumor out of the mill is that the company will follow a path taken by Android OEM Motorola Mobility. RIM is considering, a report says, splitting itself up, with one division (hardware) possibly being sold off, while the other concentrates on the company's messaging network.

The report comes from the Sunday Times. The move is similar to one that Motorola made back in early January of 2011, when it split into Motorola Mobility (handsets) and Motorola Solutions.

Motorola Mobility has since been acquired by Google, mostly for its patents, the Internet giant has admitted.

In addition to information about the possible split, the paper said that potential buyers for the "handset division" include Facebook and It should be noted, though, that the Sunday Times has an uneven record with these sorts of rumors, and the paper did not cite any sources.

The report added that it was also possible that the messaging network division could be sold off, or instead, the company could license its BBM, BIS, and BES technology, something that could be very lucrative.

One could imagine that Apple, Google, and Microsoft might all want licenses for RIM's messaging network technology.

Last month RIM, once high-flying until the combination of Apple and Google smartphones brought it to its knees, said it had hired JP Morgan and RBC Capital to help it examine its options. The Times said that the split and potential sale was just one option. Another would be to sell a large portion of the existing company to some larger firm, such as Microsoft.

The Times said that RIM's "final plan" would be unveiled this summer. That would be long before its BlackBerry 10 handsets were (loosely) scheduled to reach the market, meaning that those products could be in limbo once a plan is revealed.

RIM hasn't provided any guidance for its fiscal Q1 2013 earnings, which are scheduled to be reported on June 28th, this coming week. However, new CEO Thorsten Heins has said that the company will "likely have an operating loss."

No comments: