IBM flirts with RIM enterprise services unit acquisition

BlackBerry maker RIM’s enterprise services division is in IBM’s cross-hairs as a potential acquisition target, according to industry sources.

Bloomberg cited unnamed sources, claiming that the tech giant has already made an informal approach towards purchasing the unit, which operates a network of secure servers to support the BlackBerry devices with email and messaging.

Rumours of a sell-off have been in the mill for the past couple of months, after it was learned that the company had brought in a pair of investment banks, JP Morgan Chase and RBC Capital Markets, to investigate RIM’s “strategic options”.

The company has had a tough time of late as the effects of a furiously competitive smartphone market, and particularly competition from Apple and Google, squeezed it from its once dominant spot in the sector.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, who took charge at the beginning of the year following a management restructure, has embarked on a pragmatic restructuring of the firm’s workforce, shedding almost a third of RIM’s personnel and closing a number of manufacturing sites in order to boost efficiency.

He has repeatedly sought to quash rumours of any sale of all or part of the business. And it appears any such move is unlikely at this point, with Bloomberg’s sources confiding that the Canadian firm would preferring to wait for its much anticipated BlackBerry 10 platform to launch early next year before making any decisions.

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17 Aug 2012, 3:25 p.m.

When are RIM finally going to accept that there are two (three if you really want to include Windows Phone 8) mobile Operating Systems. Three. Not four. iOS and Android. Not one of those users is going to ditch their nice shiny iOS or Android apps and app store for anything else. Windows might pick up some users who are Windows fans, but a) the app choice isnt there and b) the best handsets are not available. Factor all the above into the choice of buying a Apple, Android or Windows Phone and its hard enough, but then add the 4th option of a Blackberry and its clear RIM are going to struggle.

What RIM need to do is focus on Handset design and their email service and ditch the idea of proprietary software, or they will just be wasting more money.