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RIM Under Mounting Pressure to Divide Company, Partner With Microsoft Following BB10 Delay

BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Device

Research in Motion announced yesterday that its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system had been delayed until 2013 — much to the dismay of increasingly frustrated BlackBerry fans the world over. With the Canadian company counting on this operating system — and the devices that will run it — to turn its fortunes around, the delay hasn’t been well received by anyone.

Reuters is now reporting that RIM’s board is under mounting pressure to take drastic action. One of its current options, according to sources close to the company, is to divide its business up into hardware and software divisions, and then sell off the latter — which could see BlackBerry services coming to rival smartphones.

But another, slightly more interesting, option is to partner up with Microsoft — much like Nokia has — and introduce BlackBerry devices to the company’s Windows Phone operating system. According to Reuters, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has already approached RIM with this proposal:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had approached RIM in recent months, looking to strike a partnership similar to the one the software giant has with Nokia Oyj, the sources said. Under that partnership, Nokia will use Microsoft’s latest Windows operating system on its smartphones.

In such a scenario, RIM could also look for Microsoft to buy a stake in the company and fund marketing and other expenses, the sources said.

However, it is reported that RIM isn’t too keen on this idea and the thought of losing its independence. Instead, the board wants to give newly-minted CEO Thorsten Heins the opportunity to bring BlackBerry 10 to market first, the sources said, with the hope that the company can save itself without losing its independence, or selling off chunks of its business.

So these are the options RIM is considering right now, according to sources. It’s becoming clear to any outsider that the company may need more than just BlackBerry 10 to bounce back. And it’s clear that the longer it takes for BlackBerry 10 and RIM’s next-generation devices to arrive, the more market share the company is going to lose to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices.

What do you think RIM’s best move would be now?

[via The Verge]


Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...

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