Amazon considered making a bid for RIM

Fri, Dec 30, 2011


Like a bat out of hell, the iPhone came along in 2007 and forever changed the smartphone landscape. Amazingly, some companies are still struggling to recover from Apple’s foray into the smartphone market, with RIM being a prime example.

The Canadian based purveyor of BlackBerry devices is in turmoil. Earnings are on the decline because, put simply, no one is interested in BlackBerry’s anymore. Sure, RIM has tried to quell the tide of bad luck with smartphone hybrids like the Torch and 2-1 deals, but so far nothing has proven successful long term. Compounding matters, RIM announced recently that their line of BlackBerry 10 smartphones will be subject to further delays and might not come out until late 2012. And while RIM execs claim it’s because they’re waiting for more power efficient LTE chips, some reports claim that the BlackBerry 10 project is fraught with technical problems pertaining to issues as basic as email functionality.

So with RIM still grasping for air, the WSJ reported last week that Amazon had previously made overtures towards the company with the idea of potentially acquiring them. Ultimately though, RIM wasn’t interested in selling.

Research In Motion Ltd has turned down takeover overtures from Inc and other potential buyers because the BlackBerry maker prefers to fix its problems on its own, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Amazon hired an investment bank this summer to review a potential merger with RIM, but it did not make a formal offer, said one of the sources. It is not clear whether informal discussions between Amazon and RIM ever led to specific price talk, or who else had approached RIM about a takeover.

RIM’s board wants co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to focus on trying to turn around the business through the launch of new phones, better use of assets such as BlackBerry Messaging and restructuring, two sources said. They did not want to be identified as the discussions are private. RIM and Amazon declined to comment.

In the meantime, RIM has suffered setback after setback, with it’s recent foray into the tablet market with the BlackBerry Playbook being the most recent flop on their once illustrious resume.

So call them niave or perhaps resolute, but RIM seems to be in it for the long haul and is exploring other possible revenue streams, such as licensing opportunities.

But with RIM’s share price at an 8-year low, they may be running out of time.


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