Microsoft and Nokia reportedly considered a bid for BlackBerry makers RIM

By Tom Warren, on 21st Dec 11 1:19 am with 65 Comments

RIM BlackBerry

Microsoft and Nokia reportedly mulled over an idea of making a joint bid for Research in Motion (RIM), according to reports.

Microsoft, Nokia and RIM executives reportedly met regularly to discuss closer partnerships and the mobile industry. The Wall Street Journal claims the status of the talks is unclear but that informal discussions took place between executives. RIM has been struggling to ease investor confidence as the company’s stock has continued to slip during 2011. If the rumors of talks are genuine then it highlights how difficult RIM is finding the mobile market this year.

Microsoft and RIM announced in May that Bing would become the default search engine for BlackBerry devices. The partnership is a deep one and involves Bing being integrated at the operating system level. The integration includes location based services too. Bing is the preferred search provider in the browser and Bing is the default search and map application for new BlackBerry devices. Bing also shipped as the default search experience and map app for the BlackBerry PlayBook. The interface is based on the company’s Metro UI style as seen in Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 devices.

RIM struggled with a three-day service outage in October. BlackBerry BES and BIS services were impacted in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa on October 10, 11 and 12. The outage also spread to the U.S., Canada and Latin America, preventing users from receiving mail, BBM messages and surfing the internet.

  • Joel leigh

    Take 3rd by force

    • BadManDuke

      I don’t think there is a need to. BlackBerry OS will eventually fade away on its own.

    • Sniperboy

      Might as well buy BlackBerry and get their business customers before they all feel to Apple or Google.

    • Major Plonquer

      Business customers on Apple or Google?  Hahahaha! Your obviously NOT a businessman.

    • GP007

      Time to snatch up any IP RIM has though. 

    • BadManDuke

      I suppose their mail encryption would be something worth grabbing.

    • Anonymous

      Wp is already third in new sales

  • Anonymous

    Hey… Get them on the windows phone platform in “2nd half 2012.”

    Honestly, I could care less about RIM but the thought of The Astonishing Tribe making WP apps is sweet!

    • Robert

      TAT is great but then again they are focused way too much on effects than usability. Have a look at the stuff they presented on this autemn’s BB DevCon: beautiful, yes. But hardly usable. I don’t thin they would be that good for Metro.

  • Sujish Patel

    Getting RIM will solidify Microsoft dominance in the Business side of tech.

    • Anonymous

      RIM’s hardware are beautiful, add a bit of windows phone to it and i think we can have good thing coming.

    • Gamer

      lol the 1/2 of the bottom of RIM phone just sucks.

  • AlienSix

    THREE turkeys do not make an eagle!

    • Anonymous

      BUT they sure can bite other birds to death

    • Anonymous

      I like chickens

    • Anonymous

      But they sure do make a great feast. That being said they would all benefit from one another.

    • Entong

      even a million turkeys don’t.. my point? your comment is illogical? just think of another analogy which is perfectly fit for the article..

    • Guest

      Dude it is just a play off, and quite funny one, of what Google’s Vic Gundotra tweeted when Nokia and MSFT announced an alliance.   Sadly so far Vic has been pretty much right but then again turkeys can fly so far the MSFT/Nokia partnership is sinking like a stone.  :(   

    • Guest

      The first joint product has been in market for about a month now, dk of dunce.

    • Major Plonquer

      How is SOLD OUT! the same as sinking like a stone?

      The two companies who this year get the TURKEY MATING awards are obviously Google and Motorola.  I can’t believe Google was DUMB enough to fall for that one.  These two turkeys couldn’t even make a turkey, let alone an eagle.

    • Guest

      And six of your aliases don’t add up to one intelligent commenter, fortune cookie.

    • Chijioke Okorie

      I just like the Turkeys… They taste real good U know…

  • Cristian

    microsoft should justmake rim the same offer they gave nokia that way they dont have to spend as much money. that way bb focuses on making great buissness phones optimized for win phones

  • Anonymous

    Probably wasn’t more than a few bucks.

  • Pinktacoyummm

    Makes no sense in buying rim.
    I doubt msft and nok are going to bid.

  • Anonymous

    They should do a Nokia and partner up with MS for WP7 Blackberry’s.  However I think they aren’t smart enough to even go to Android.  I really hope Google doesn’t buy them.

  • Ian Easson

    Microsoft will never buy RIM, not should it.  Microsoft is not in the hardware business (XBOX and Kinnect are just vehicles for selling software.)  But Nokia could buy RIM.  But, the question is — what is the value in RIM?  There are two parts of RIM: 1) The handsets, which everyone knows about and which are failing; and 2) The backend software, which has a good acceptance in the enterprise.  So, Nokia might buy RIM (perhaps with a loan from Microsoft), ditch the handsets and replace them with Windows phones, but keep all the backend software.  Then Microsoft could use this as a means to introduce Windows phones to the enterprise late next year.  That seems to be the only scenario that makes and business sense.

    • Anonymous

      they tried hardware business with Danger, RIM would fall nicely with them because their hardware porfolio is way more attractive to the masses. 

    • Guest

      Yeah, that’s a plan with some merit. And MS and RIM go way back. But I don’t think RIM’s management has given up on going it alone yet.

    • Anonymous

      Microsoft is not in the hardware business? Really?
      Ever heard of:- Microsoft Pointing devices? i.e.: Mouse?
      - Microsoft Keyboards?
      - Microsoft WebCams?
      - Xbox? Xbox 360? Xbox Accessories (like Kinect, Remote Controls, controllers, etc)?
      - Headsets?
      - Cooling Bases?
      - Office RoundTable Camera?
      - Microsoft Broadband routers, access points, etc.
      - Microsoft Broadband Ethernet cards, USB Wifi Cards, PCMCIA cards
      - Microsoft Surface
      - In the 90s there was a Microsoft Cordless Phone (900 MhZ!!)
      - The Zune?
      - The Kin?
      - Microsoft PC Speaker System

    • Dalgarven

      Fair enough, but I think its in hardware the same way Logitech is. Plus there is a big difference between an actual PC and its accessories.

    • Anonymous

      MS has been making mice and keyboards for some type. Those are also low level products that don’t cost much to make. Thus they are less draw from company resources. Keyboards with specific Windows/Office shortcuts is cheap to make. The cheapest retail keyboard can cost $10. So image how much it cost to make one. Same for a mouse.

      When we say MS doesn’t make hardware, we are talking about hardware that creates more overhead. Making phones or computers creates lots of overhead. Buying components, distribution costs, shipping cost, employees or sub-contracts cost way more money vs what you listed.

      MS took a hit for 5 years on Xbox before they turned a profit.

      Software makes more money and here is how. Microsoft could budget 10M on the next version of Windows. That budget includes all associated cost. Workers, programming time and more. That’c nothing comapred to the $500M they are likely to make.

      When the final copy is done, you have one gold copy as a master and you only spend money to make more copies and distribute them.

      Shipping a CD is way cheaper than shipping a PC. You can ship 100′s of disks for the same cost as 1 PC.

    • guest

      What about any patents RIM own?

    • Olisaebuka Maduka

      My thoughts exactly, it doesn’t make much sense for MS to buy RIM cause that would make WP OEMs like HTC feel very uneasy especially when you also put the whole Nokia February deal into the equation, heck even Nokia would feel uneasy, but in a situation where it was Nokia buying out RIM, a better picture begins to form. I’ve imagined this scenario way before the whispers of this rumor reached the ears of Reuters.

      With Nokia it would just be a phone maker buying another phone maker.

    • Major Plonquer

      Gotcha.  Microsoft does have some hardware devices but, as a rule, Microsoft NEVER compete with their own customers.  Contrast that with Google who were dumb enough to buy Motorola and piss off Samsung, HTC, LG, NTT, Hauwei, ZTE, Lenovo…..

      The ‘borrowing money from Microsoft’ bit makes a LOT of sense. They have a pile of cash sitting outside the USA that they’d like to see being more procutive.

      If MS/Nokia gets their hands of BB’s back end everyone else can kiss the enterprise market goodbye.

  • Wemberg Carlo Estil

    That would be awesome!!

  • Adrian Marius

    How will Microsoft include WP7 tiles in such small screens o_o?

    • Fdgd


    • Anonymous

      think Tango, it’s optimized for smaller screen.

    • tyler fast

      if they do buy out RIM microsoft is planning on redoing the blackberry line to optimize screen sizes for there windows 7 phones.  

    • Seth_p

      Instead of vertical scroll, they can do horizontal scrolling like in Win8 – maybe!

  • Martyn Metalous

    What patents do RIM own? Is a more important question than eagles, iFads or Scamdroids

  • Gennaro Tangari

    It would be nice: despite the falling of the shares, RIM is still one of the major player especially in professional market. But how to fit the RIM’s acquisition with the Windows Phone based strategy?

  • Impartial

    BB with WP would kick ass

  • adam

    rim is actually selling well outside the us, i am pretty sure that out of all the people in my school that have smart phones, 80% will have blackberries   

  • Guest

    More hardware keyboard devices would be great (if they up the support for this in the OS)

  • Louis Sandiford

    Buying RIM would be a huge own-goal, they’re already in free fall. Getting the Windows Phone software on BlackBerry handsets could work though…

    And on a different front, how’s RIM’s patent portfolio?

  • Mia

    Although this is an interesting piece of news, I don’t see how such a partnership could work. RIM’s concept doesn’t really match Nokia’s, not to mention Microsoft’s: they have different designs, almost different functionalists, and target different users.

    • Anonymous

      IMO, you ‘re 1/2 right and 1/2 wrong just a tad.
      Microsoft’s focus with Windows Mobile was business usage, not consumer. With WP7, MS is trying to shift that there other way, because it lost most of the Enterprise market to RIM.

      MS could easily make 2 versions of Windows Phone. The present Windows Phone would be more consumer friendly with integration of Facebook, Twitter and other social stuff. They can use Bing to provide search and more.

      Then they could have Windows Phone Pro, where even tho it offers the same function, the phone is geared towards business.

      Many don’t know, that all versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 are all the same within their family. All MS did was change the installer and changing settings in the Registry. This is how the Windows Anytime Upgrade works. The process downloads a few files that contain the differences in the versions. One file is the Registry file that contains the setting to make one version work like another. Then update system files are also downloaded. However those files are on the CD, which is why a single DVD contains all versions. All you have to do is copy a retail version of Windows 7 to a drive and remove one file, and burn the image back and when you boot all versions are avail for choice of install. In fact for the Windows 2000 family of Windows, MS has a tool that combines them all on a sing;e DVD. A folder is created for the few system files that are different fro each version. When you choose one to install, it simply pulls the correct system files from its own folder.

      Windows CE also has a registry. For Windows Phone Pro, MS simply activates the features more geared towards business. If they buy RIM, they will then own all of RIM server side applications and more. They would also have all their patents. MS could then in a single year, reverse engineer all their apps and make them work under Windows. So then they can bring all the robust features of Blackberry OS into WP7 Pro.Then MS has 2 mobile offering to sell for phones. Business has theirs and consumers have theirs.

      And at the same time, Microsoft instantly becomes a 3rd contender.  And so Microsoft has 2 ways to make the devices. Nokia and HTC and Samsung can all still make both a consumer and business version of the device. They could even have one that does both.

      Microsoft buying RIM, removes RIM as a competitor, but takes the good ideas RIM had and rolls them into the UI of Windows Phone. It would be a win-win for Microsoft.

    • Guest

      If Microsoft and Nokia bought RIM they would most likely break the company up. Microsoft would take RIM’s software well Nokia would get the hardware.

      Microsoft could integrate BlackBerry Enterprise Server with its own server/office offerings. And yes Microsoft make a WP7 pro version specifically tailored to business users.

      Nokia on the other hand could manufacture two different handset models a “lumia” series that targets consumers and a BlackBerry model for business users, in other words BlackBerry becomes Nokia’s Cadillac. At the same time Nokia would get inroads into the North America markets, regain lost ground in Europe, and strengthen its position in emerging markets.

      In the end the acquisition would increase WP7′s market share and make WP7 a solid 3rd in the mobile world.

    • Guest

      The concept of a business phone separate from a consumer phone is dying. BB is losing share to “consumer” phones. To sell Lumia into enterprises just requires more business features and apps from WP. What you’d be getting from buying BB is design expertise (not really required since Nokia has this), patents (potential lucrative), a new OS in development (that neither Nokia or MS need), a declining BES business, and a redundant phone offering.

    • Anonymous

      I was thinking along the same lines.
      But I would rather retire Blackberry altogether.

      Nokia has a few high end phones. I say, use some styling from RIM’s line, but also integrate Nokia’s looks as well.
      I think the main problem with RIM other than slow progression, is their hardware hasn’t changed much over the past 10 years.

  • Anonymous

    Blackberry + WP7 is the only thing that would make me not get a Lumia 900… depending on how amazing the 900 is of course

  • Anonymous

    I think what most of the posters here are missing is simple. The one major benefit to a MS buyout of RIM is simple. Windows Mobile owned the Enterprise for several years. RIM came and stole it, buy not just offering a platform that worked with present Windows applications, but took the support further than MS did.

    If MS bought RIM, they would in one swing get all of those lost revenues back. Even tho right now Microsoft could compete and beat RIM, buying them would make that happen much faster

    Right now RIM still has how much market vs what MS has? Microsoft would instantly be back in double figures and be a fair contender to beat the next guy, which at this point is Apple.

    Several analysts ahve said MS if they could get most of Nokia buyers to use Windows, would beat Apple in just 3 years on the market. Even to Windows Phone 7 adoption has been slow, oce more models are avail in more places at low cost, they will sell just like nokia’s. And Microsoft already stated that the next versions of WP would support lower costing devices.

    Everyone now wants a smart phone. MS/Nokia can make a phone that has all the capabilities of WP and Nokia services, without installing apps. That could make the phone very cheap.

    Eliminating RIM quickers, means MS can sell faster

  • Henrik

    The question is: How much money can Microsoft spew out? They make multi billion dollar deals left right and center. And if MS bought Skype for 8.5 billion, what the heck is RIM with all patents included going to cost them..? Share the wealth!

    • Guest

      RIM’s current market cap is $7.22 billion. A 50% premium on the stock price would value that deal at just under 11 billion. Being a joint bid between Microsoft and Nokia; the 2 companies would probably pay $7 and $4 billion respectively. Yes, it’s a lot of money, but easily affordable, Microsoft makes $20B+ a year.

    • Guest

      Nobody is going to pay a 50% premium for RIM. I doubt they’ll get 20%. It’s easily affordable to MS, but they have their own substantial problems heading into 2012. If, or really when, MS admits it can’t win with an OEM  licensing approach in mobile, then it would probably make sense to buy Nokia, assuming they’ve shown any progress by then.

    • Guest

      A 50% premium isn’t unreasonable, Google paid a 63% premium on Motorola. This deal makes some sense for Microsoft and Nokia, they would be buying themselves market share. BlackBerry would use WP7 which means Microsoft makes more in licenses. As for Microsoft buying up Nokia, Nokia is currently worth $18.16 billion, if Nokia fails that bad Microsoft will undoubtedly get them for less, not to mention it would give Microsoft an excuse to burn of some of its money sitting in Europe. At $20+ billion a year in profits, buying both companies is manageable, though admittedly not ideal.

    • Guest


      That was in a better market, for a company that at the time was doing well, and because Google wanted to avoid them signing a licensing deal with MS. A better analog is the current bids for Yahoo, which are much more modest.

      You wouldn’t be gaining WP share initially, just adding BB share. That doesn’t give MS licensing revenue. By the time you factor in legal and regulatory approval for the deal as well as the engineering effort to move BB to WP, you wouldn’t see any BB WP phones and therefore licensing until 2013 or even 2014. Way too late.

      If RIM comes to them wanting to do a Nokia style deal, that makes sense for MS. Otherwise they’re better off investing even more into trying to make the Nokia deal a winner. They can always buy them in future and leverage the money in the EU already, as you suggest. 

      The wild card is Android. Right now it looks unstoppable. But you have several important things happening in the new year that *could* either derail that or at least slow it down.

      But let’s not kid ourselves. MS seriously f*cked up in mobile and now is the worst positioned. Their licensing model doesn’t work on being a niche player.

    • Major Plonquer

      Microsoft has something like $30 billion in cash sitting outside the USA. IF they bring it into USA and pay dividends they’ll lose about half of it on tax.  Makes sense to spend it – but not in USA.  RIM qualifies.

  • JAson

    maybe the only drive for microsoft to buy RIM is the Patent portfolio, so they can bash up the green robot again.

  • Anonymous

    Windows Phone running on a Blackberry London? Awesome!

  • Major Plonquer

    RIM could easily be broken up into two part – handsets and services. It makes a LOT of sense for Microsoft to take over RIM’s enterprise service stuff and integrate it with Lync (great product) and Skype.

    But what value would the handset business give to Nokia?

  • adam

    wp office with blackberries, could be a winner with businesses