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Amazon isn’t the only one, as Microsoft and Nokia also considered bidding for RIM

RIM headquartersFollowing yesterday’s report that Amazon considered making a bid for Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry range of smartphones, it has now emerged both Microsoft and Nokia are interested in the Canadian company too.

This would be a joint bid from the pair rather than two individual ones, showing just how strong the relationship is between the two companies. However the Wall Street Journal use of the phrase “flirted with the idea” to describe the move, indicates it perhaps didn’t get much further than initial discussions.

However, not only does the WSJ say the “status of the talks remains unclear”, but RIM’s falling stock saw a lift following the buyout talk, showing it’s not doing the company’s reputation much harm. An analyst at Bloomberg points out that RIM’s low stock price — a 78 percent fall this year and the lowest in nearly eight years — makes it a strong target for a “speculative buy.”

Like the Amazon deal, neither Microsoft, Nokia or RIM has commented on the rumors, but it’s said that Co-CEO Jim Balsillie indicated they would wait until after the first BlackBerry 10 devices go on sale before seriously considering a takeover bid. This is interesting wording, as he didn’t say they wouldn’t consider outside bids, but would prefer to wait a while before doing so.

Adding another twist to the tale is news that RIM has approached Samsung and HTC, offering them a license for the BlackBerry operating system.

As unlikely as all this buyout talk may sound, it’s ever-so slightly reminiscent of Palm’s situation last year, when the world and his dog was said to be bidding for the struggling company. HP eventually came up with the right deal, but the pair hardly lived happily ever after. Let’s hope the same fate doesn’t await RIM.

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Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
RIM offers BlackBerry users free four-month trial of BBM music

Following the release on Thursday of Research In Motions’s dismal results for its latest quarter, together with the news that the launch of its next operating system, BlackBerry 10, is to be delayed until the latter half of next year (yes, that’s the OS which is supposed to turn around the fortunes of the company), we can expect a number of offers and deals in the coming months from the troubled company as it tries desperately to stay in the mobile game.
It’s kicking off the please-don’t-jump-ship show with an offer of up to 120 days free membership of its BlackBerry music-sharing service, which received its official launch at the beginning of last month.
Users begin with BBM Music by building a profile comprising 50 of their favorite tracks. The idea is that they then build their own library by connecting with music libraries of friends also using the service. Of course, if your music tastes are entirely different to those of your buddies, your collection may remain frustratingly small. There’s a social element to BBM Music too, with users encouraged to create and share playlists, as well as comment on your friends’ music.
To take up the offer, BlackBerry users must install the BBM Music app between now and January 4. If you don’t cancel the deal once the free trial is over, you’ll be charged the regular subscription rate of $4.99 a month.
While the free offer is hardly going to save the company, RIM will be doing everything it can in the coming months to try to retain its smartphone user base following its announcement on Thursday regarding the delay of its much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 OS.
According to Reuters, Canadian brokerage National Bank Financial wrote in a note to clients on Friday, “RIM confirmed the BlackBerry 10 smartphones will be delayed until the latter part of calendar 2012. This could be game over for the BlackBerry franchise.” Harsh words indeed, but many in the industry will agree.
While RIM executives will be glad to see the back of 2011, next year hardly promises to be any better. 

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RIM delays BlackBerry 10 phones, posts sharp drop in profits

No doubt Research In Motion would like to have been the bearer of better news during the festive period, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
The Ontario-based company announced on Thursday that phones running its new BlackBerry 10 operating system won’t appear in the first few months of next year as had been expected, but instead should be out in the “later part” of 2012. According to Reuters, this was so RIM could take advantage of the arrival of more powerful and energy-efficient chipsets when they appear in mid-2012.
The company’s shipment forecast of BlackBerry smartphones made grim reading for investors, with sales of between 11 and 12 million devices expected in the quarter that includes the busy Christmas holidays, down from the 14.1 million sold in the previous quarter.
Figures released by the company on Thursday for the quarter ending November 26 showed a net income of $265 million, down significantly from the $911 million it made in the same period last year. The poor figures were partly due to a pre-tax writedown of $485 million related to its PlayBook inventory, plus a $54 million charge due to October’s service outage. Revenue fell from $5.5 billion in the same quarter last year to $5.2 billion.
Despite various special offers in recent months, sales of its troubled PlayBook tablet were also disappointing, with the company shipping 150,000 units during the latest quarter. In the previous quarter it shipped 200,000.
Following the announcement of the figures, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis asked for consumers’ “patience and confidence,” regarding the company’s next-generation smartphone. “We wanted to make sure the product we launch in the US has the performance and battery life expectations that consumers are going to be expecting,” he said.
Lazaridis’s fellow co-CEO Jim Balsillie said, “The last few quarters have been some of the most trying in the recent history of the company.” The pair have even asked for their salaries to be cut to $1 while they try to get the company back on track, as a kind of “we’re all in this together” gesture, though one can assume they have a few bucks in the bank to turn to once they spend their dollar.
The firm that was once the dominant force in the smartphone market could be hit hard by its latest announcement regarding the launch of its BlackBerry 10 OS. By the time it comes out, the iPhone 5 will likely be on the market and Android phones with the latest Ice Cream Sandwich OS will already have the attention of consumers. The BlackBerry 10 OS would help breathe some new life into its business, but until that happens RIM will need to maintain healthy sales of its current range of smartphones, and also try to shift a few more of those tablets.

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Bye bye BBX – RIM dumps name of next OS after court ruling

The year 2011 will undoubtedly be one that Research In Motion (RIM) will be glad to see the back of. Today the Ontario-based company suffered yet another setback, this time over the use of the name of its next mobile operating system, which was to be called BBX.
A federal court in Albuquerque on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order against RIM using BBX to describe its new software. However, soon after the order was granted, RIM announced on its Twitter feed that its forthcoming operating system would now be called BlackBerry 10.
The court ruling was the result of a trademark dispute with Albuquerque-based software company Basis International, which is already using the BBX name for its own software product.
The BlackBerry and PlayBook maker would have used the BBX name at its Asia DevCon conference in Singapore later this week, but the court decision meant it would no longer be able to do so. In a statement, Basis said it had asked RIM not to use the BBX name at the conference, but RIM had refused to comply. As a result, Basis felt it had no choice but to file for the court order.
RIM’s new BBX BlackBerry 10 operating system, which is supposed to be rolled out for all of its mobile devices early next year, will reportedly bring together the best of its two existing operating systems - BlackBerry OS (used to power its smartphones) and QNX (used to power its PlayBook tablet).
It’s been a dire 12 months for RIM. Its attempt at producing an iPad killer with the PlayBook has been nothing short of a disaster, with the company losing half a billion dollars in the last three months thanks to unsold and discounted tablets.
In October a three-day service outage affected millions of BlackBerry users around the world, while shares in the company have fallen by around 65 percent over the course of 2011.
Next year will be crucial for RIM with the company desperately hoping BlackBerry 10 will turn things around for it.

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