Opinion Brief

Is RIM selling its BlackBerry handset business?

The former king of the smartphone world is reportedly looking to split its company in two, with the hardware arm headed one way and the software arm another

Ailing BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion is looking to sell off its hardware business, according to a report from British newspaper The Sunday Times (subscription required). Potential buyers for its phone division allegedly include Facebook and Amazon. Meanwhile the Canadian company is renewing its focus on developing and licensing its proprietary messaging software — such as BlackBerry Messenger and email — to other companies. The Sunday Times report, however, doesn't cite any sources, although RIM's relatively new CEO Thorsten Hein once said that the firm was in need of "substantial change." Is RIM splitting in two?

The writing is on the wall: RIM recently hired JPMorgan and RBC Capital as business advisers, says Steven Musil at CNET. The company has "been struggling to bring back lost market share" now that Apple and Android rule the industry, and the most recent earnings report showed $125 million in losses for the fourth quarter. RIM said publicly that it's looking at "strategic business-model alternatives"; essentially, that's "corporate-speak" for exploring a potential sale. Don't be surprised."RIM reportedly considering splitting company in two"

A split would actually hurt both RIM divisions: In RIM's case, splitting the company into two divisions could be "dangerous" for the other, says Zach Whittaker at ZDNet: BlackBerry smartphones need the data network for email and browsing, while RIM's data network is "completely worthless" without BlackBerry phones to anchor it. Take a look at Palm, a now-defunct phone manufacturer RIM is often compared to. In the mid-2000s, Palm famously split its hardware division from its software arm. "If history is to be our guide, RIM could be facing a similar downfall." RIM may be better off selling itself to a single company like Microsoft."RIM considers split, handset unit sell-off: Palm 'Groundhog Day?'"

RIM should sell its phone division... but only to Facebook: The company's hardware business is definitely troubled, says Sean Ludwig at VentureBeat. A sale to Facebook would make sense because the social network is already rumored to be building its own Facebook Phone. "RIM already has the infrastructure set up to build large quantities of phones, so it could be a smart investment" for Zuckerberg and crew. For RIM, that could be something to like."RIM might sell its handset business to Facebook or Amazon"

Recommended

The two-man space race
Jeff Bezos.
Opinion

The two-man space race

Meat supplier JBS paid $11 million ransom following cyberattack
A JBS facility.
$$$$$

Meat supplier JBS paid $11 million ransom following cyberattack

Senate passes sweeping bill to boost U.S. tech industry
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
in the senate

Senate passes sweeping bill to boost U.S. tech industry

Why utilities should be dumber
A factory worker.
Talking Points

Why utilities should be dumber

Most Popular

Georgia election workers reportedly received a 'torrent' of threats
Trump rally.
The big lie

Georgia election workers reportedly received a 'torrent' of threats

Bernie Sanders wants to know if cannabis reporter is 'stoned' right now
Bernie Sanders.
Sounds dope

Bernie Sanders wants to know if cannabis reporter is 'stoned' right now

The week's best photojournalism
Elephants.
Photos

The week's best photojournalism