Amazon and Microsoft/Nokia Considered Saving RIM

Amazon and Microsoft/Nokia separately flirted with taking over beleaguered smart phone maker RIM earlier this year, according to reports. It's unclear why any of these companies would want to saddle themselves with such an albatross, but obtaining RIM's cache of mobile industry patents is the most likely reason.

Amazon's involvement with RIM comes courtesy of Reuters, which says that Amazon privately offered to take over RIM earlier in the year. RIM turned down this offer because it preferred to solve its problems on its own, the report claims. RIM and Amazon declined to comment.

Microsoft and Nokia, meanwhile, also looked into bailing out RIM, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal that cites unnamed sources. Spokespeople for Microsoft and Nokia also declined to comment on the rumors.

With no savior in sight, time is running out for RIM. The company's market value has dropped a dramatic 77 percent in the last 12 months, to about $6.8 billion. And its market share in the US has shrunk equally dramatically, from over 50 percent two years ago to just 9 percent today. By this time next year, RIM and its Blackberry devices could both be gone.

Finally acknowledging the disaster, RIM's co-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, said in a recent conference call with the press that they would "leave no stone unturned" in trying to right the company. They are looking into various strategies, including licensing their Blackberry OS to third party companies like HTC and Samsung, licensing their proprietary online network to traditional wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon, and shaking up RIM's management and board of directors.

The company publicly revealed in recent days that it would delay the release of next-generation Blackberry 10 devices until late 2012. This comes after a related announcement that a long-awaited update to its struggling PlayBook tablet was delayed to early 2012. In my opinion, RIM is doomed. I wrote a bit about this in a recent blog post, RIP, RIM.
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