Microsoft eyeing up BlackBerry maker?

James Middleton

October 15, 2008

2 Min Read
Microsoft eyeing up BlackBerry maker?

Canadian BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) and US software shop Microsoft were caught up in the industry rumour mill this week, with speculation circulating that the pair are about to get hitched.

Naturally, both parties are keeping quiet on the rumours, which appear to have been started by a US analyst who commented Microsoft could make a $28bn bid for RIM if the Canadian firm’s share price keeps falling.

After posting decent enough results for the quarter to the end of May, RIM took a beating on the Toronto stock exchange simply for not being Apple.

Revenues for the quarter to the end of May jumped 107 per cent year on year to $2.24bn, while net profit more than doubled from $223m last year to $482m this year. The company also shipped 5.4 million devices and stepped up its consumer game to 40 cent of its total user base, but Ovum analyst Jeremy Green noted that the markets had been expecting $2.29bn in revenues.

As far as fit goes, Microsoft and RIM don’t exactly share much in terms of handset software technology, although BlackBerrys are commonly used by enterprises as an access device for Microsoft Exchange. That and RIM already offers services such as Windows Live on the BlackBerry.

In the smartphone space it is Nokia and its Symbian platform that are the 300 pound gorillas. An acquisition of RIM would allow Microsoft to consolidate the Canadian firm’s market share with that of other big Windows Mobile proponents such as HTC, allowing the Redmond Giant to better take on Nokia, or more accurately, Symbian.

Recent figures released by research house Canalys estimates that smartphones represented 13 per cent of all mobile phone shipments during the second quarter.

Nokia remained the market leader by some margin with 71 per cent market share, but its closest rivals posted higher than average year on year growth. Second-placed RIM, manufacturer of the BlackBerry, closed the market share gap by several points with a total of 7 per cent, and HTC, Motorola and Samsung more than doubled their shipments with 7 per cent, 3 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

Evidently, the closest scrap is going on between HTC and RIM, which are both fast approaching the 1 million smartphones per quarter mark, but Canalys believes that they might be overtaken by Apple during the third quarter, in the wake of the iPhone 3G being launched in many countries.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of | Follow him @telecomsjames

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