Should Microsoft buy BlackBerry?

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is struggling mightily, fueling speculation that a Microsoft buyout is in the works

Blackberrys on display
(Image credit: BAGUS INDAHONO/epa/Corbis)

Research In Motion (RIM) is moving in the wrong direction. The maker of the BlackBerry (and the new tablet, the Playbook) has seen its stock slide from the mid-$50s range in April to $28 on Wednesday, with the biggest plunge seemingly triggered by a "particularly ugly" quarterly earnings report late last week. The tanking stock has sparked renewed speculation that a company with a healthy bankroll — say, Microsoft — could swoop in and buy the beleaguered smartphone maker. Would that be a positive step?

Yes. It "would make plenty of sense": Buying RIM at these "bargain-basement prices" would help Microsoft "immediately become a much larger mobile player," says Preston Gralla at ComputerWorld. Microsoft could then offer BlackBerries for business customers, and Windows phones for consumers. That would mean abandoning the "Windows everywhere" strategy that Microsoft "seems wedded to," but it would be "the quickest way" for Microsoft "to finally become a big player" in the smartphone world.

"Will Microsoft buy RIM?"

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No. Neither Microsoft nor RIM is interested: You can "forget the idea of Microsoft buying RIM," says Erik Sherman at BNET. Microsoft has invested too much "time and money creating Windows phone" and isn't going to buy RIM's competing and "aging" smartphone software. Plus, RIM's ego-driven co-CEOs "would rather die and take the business with them than admit someone else could solve a problem they couldn't."

"Buy RIM? Don't make me laugh"

This is just a stockbroker's fantasy: This deal is "complete nonsense" suggested by stockbrokers who have seen their holdings in RIM nosedive, says Charles Arthur at The Guardian. A deal would help brokers by getting them a premium for their RIM shares — and the speculation helps drive up the stock price even "before the acquisition begins." But buying RIM would be like "catching a falling knife," and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is a "good dealmaker" who won't get suckered by this chatter.

"Microsoft rumored to buy RIM... or stockbrokers to sell RIM shares?"

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