So far, it has been a rather appalling year for Research in Motion (RIM), the Canada-based telecommunication company best known for its BlackBerry devices.
For the three months leading to June 2, 2012, RIM reportedly suffered a $518 million net loss in revenue and was later forced to cut a total of 5000 jobs to ease its financial strains. This was followed by the discouraging news that company’s stock value have plunged to an all time low, with prices falling to approximately $7 USD per share. As if matters could not get any worse, the release date for Blackberry 10, arguably the only glimmer of hope left for the ailing company, is confirmed to be delayed to Q1 of 2013.
Having perhaps foreseen the litany of financial disasters from a mile away, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer allegedly reached out to RIM a number of times to propose a partnership similar to the one formed with Nokia. The proposal, if agreed upon, is rumored to involve the complete scrapping of the BlackBerry OS in favor of a Windows based operating system, meaning we may see a Windows 8 BlackBerry in the future instead of the long-awaited BlackBerry 10. As of yet, there are no official word on whether RIM actually plans to embark on such a path with the software giant.
While a Microsoft-RIM partnership may certainly provide the bailout RIM desperately needs, the alliance is far from a win-win situation for the two parties. RIM’s BlackBerry, for one, can potentially lose its identity, and Microsoft, being the bigger stakeholder, may be granted with just enough authority to call the major shots in the future. Judging from the lackluster performance from Nokia’s Lumia 900 LTE phones, it is also clear that integrating the BlackBerry with a Windows platform will not guarantee a quick financial turnaround, let alone long term success for RIM.
One less discussed, although equally plausible, rumor is that rather than considering only Microsoft’s offer, RIM might also be exploring a variety of other options, one of them being the implementation of Android’s operating system. For RIM, this would seem like a rational choice to consider, given the Android platform’s existing popularity and the customizable flexibilities it would provide for the BlackBerry’s system.
With more and more consumers now losing faith in the once dominant BlackBerry device, RIM ultimately needs to come up with a quick, major game plan to prevent further bleeding from its financial department. A Windows 8 –or Android-powered– Blackberry might not guarantee anything immediate, but in terms of the big picture, it may be the only option available if the company wants to save itself from becoming irrelevant.