RIM for sale? Don't bet on it says new CEO Thorsten Heins.
Trying to keep the Ontario-based phonemaker above water, Mr. Heins is reportedly exploring options to seek a partner for a joint venture, partnership, or "strategic investment". According to sources he has retained two banks -- a global firm and a local Canadian one -- to help with the efforts.
Despite facing grim prospects in the consumer market and becoming a money-loser for the first time in years, RIM is determined to try to keep itself in the game in some shape or form.
RIM has $1.77B USD in cash reserves on hand to try to weather the storm and its losses, as it attempts to secure some sort of bailout. Sources close to the company indicate that Samsung might entertain the idea licensing RIM's upcoming QNX-based BlackBerry 10 operating system.
But with Samsung already wildly successful and deeply bonded to Google Android, it's unknown whether the South Korean gadgetmaker would even entertain such a wild option, despite the security and business advantages that RIM's software might provide.
Microsoft is reportedly another one of the firms looking to play vulture to the possibly dying RIM. Sources close to Microsoft told Bloomberg that the company had no interest in buying RIM or licensing its operating system, but that it would be interesting in scavenging up morsels from RIM's juicy patent portfolio for a fair sum of cash.
Resources are scarce and the smartphone maker's lifeline is running short. But even if it can sell it's patents or secure a short term licensing deal, the question is what next? Consumer interest appears to be fading, and business interests typically follows in suit, if a bit behind. The question many are asking is -- what will RIM have left of value to sell, once it unloads its prized IP and assets?
Some are hopeful that firm will find a way to salvage its battered business, while other expect it to follow veteran smartphone firm Palm, who recently was laid to rest by Hewlett-Packard. Indeed, RIM's talk of desperation OS licensing sounds eerily familiar -- it was the same scheme pitched by former HP CEO Léo Apotheker in June 2011. Two months later webOS -- and Palm -- was dead, and a month after that Mr. Apotheker was fired for a second time in just over a year for incompetence.