Will Google Acquire RIM?

Anton Wahlman of the Globe and Mail wrote an extremely interesting article about why it would benefit both parties if Google bought RIM.

will-google-acquire-rim-blackberry-androidAt 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.

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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

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What do you think? What RIM be a good acquisition target for Google? Why or why not?

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The Painfully Slow Death of RIM (Research In Motion)

Intense title, right? Yeah, that ought to get the juices flowing. I believe it is true that Research in Motion (RIM)’s best days may be long gone. Now hear me out and if you disagree then comment away!

Is it just me, or does Mike Lazaridis look like he is going to cry in this video? It seems like a rather straight-forward question that any powerhouse CEO would easily be able to tackle. My theory is he has a lot to worry about right now and here’s why:

1. The BlackBerry PlayBook is Unbelievably Bad

Don’t take it from me, here is a nice summary of PlayBook reviews.

I have always held a certain special hatred for the BlackBerry (BB) operating system. In one of my past jobs I was given a BB for free (including the plan) so I used it. Everyday I waited for the day that I would be “forced” to get a better phone when I was no longer able to get the BB for free. Such a glorious day it was when I picked up my iPhone 4!

Don’t tune out yet. Yes, I own an iPhone – but I am not a fanboy. In fact, I am already considering getting an Android phone next because of the “my-way-or-the-highway’ locked-down nature of the iPhone (no different than the BB). But I digress.

2. The BlackBerry Operating System is SO bad

Did I already say that? I suppose I did, but it requires more depth. A successful phone these days is about the user-experience. It’s about the ability to customize (ahem, Apple could learn a thing or two here *hint: we shouldn’t have to jailbreak!), a sleek interface, a smooth powerful system and a diverse application offering. The BB OS has done little to innovate in any of these categories. The only reason it hasn’t disappeared already is because of its brand.

3. The Brand will only carry you so far

Consumers are always rational and make informed decisions when purchasing products, right? Wrong. Purchase decisions are made largely based on intangibles like brand recognition and loyalty. This is why many people turn a blind eye to BB’s flaws. Many BB users are beginning to see the light, however. It used to be that the only positive thing I would hear about BBs would be “that is has BBM” or “that it is produced locally”. I hear less and less of those arguments everyday as people are slowly starting to see that there are simply better options out there.Don’t get me wrong, BBs used to be the best thing on the market – but that time has long past and it is time to let go.

If I had a lot of money (unfortunately, I do not), I would short BB stock and wait 20-30 years. Given their size and the apparent power of their (obsolete) brand it will take a LONG time for BB to disappear and perhaps they will never truly disappear. Perhaps they can continue to find business in other parts of the world where consumers are less picky. As far as I’m concerned, though, BB is starting to show signs of a terminal illness beginning to spread beneath its shiny black surface.

A great article that builds on what I have mentioned here: http://www.slate.com/id/2291255/

Feels good. I’ve been meaning to get a summary like that out for a while. Some of you disagree, I’m sure. Feel free to comment. But please, no more “but it has BBM!”

Update: It’s happening even faster than I imagined. See this Globe and Mail article

Another Update: looking like I was right http://gizmodo.com/5922154/rim-cutting-5000-jobs-and-pushing-back-bb10-in-disastrous-quarter