Anton Wahlman of the Globe and Mail wrote an extremely interesting article about why it would benefit both parties if Google bought RIM.
At first glance, the idea may seem a bit far-fetched but Anton raises some great points. RIM has been on shaky ground lately reporting poor sales for its PlayBook which was supposed to revitalize the brand. It’s poor operating system and lack of apps have also started to tarnish the once believed “untarnishable” BlackBerry image resulting in job cuts and reduced sales forecasts. Even so, RIM still has a respectable amount of cash sitting in the bank and brand image across the world. So what does this all mean? RIM is a prime acquisition target – especially by a giant like Google.
If an acquirer were to purchase RIM now in its currently depressed state, they may be able to purchase it for cheap and revitalize the company making use of everything it has to offer. Google is in an excellent position as it has strengths where RIM currently has weaknesses. Google, with all its product-development focus, can easily bring RIM out of the dark ages. However, it is not what Google can do for RIM that makes the acquisition a good idea, but rather what RIM can do for Google. I speak of course, of RIM’s portfolio of patents and other intangibles like intellectual property as well as brand (which has been strong until recently).
Google has recently lost a number of high-profile bids for patents and is spending more time in court than they would like. If Google does not start to protect itself soon it may be open to all shorts of patent-based lawsuits which could seriously harm its profitability. This may not be as big a concern as I make it out to be, however, it always helps to have some more ammunition in your arsenal.
BlackBerry has also been the dominant name in the business world and Google could surely leverage BlackBerry’s success in the business world for its own means as well. Android phones are far from being seen as business-oriented so perhaps there are some pointers to take from RIM on that note.
Of course, there are many issues that would arise with such an acquisition and perhaps it would fail. On the surface, though, it looks like there could be something here in the making.
Update: I was almost right. Seems they were looking for someone to buy for patents but they went with Motorola instead
Update 2: Turns out Google might be sneekier than we thought. Looks like they screwed over Apple and Microsoft
What do you think? What RIM be a good acquisition target for Google? Why or why not?