Analysis: Blackberry licensing seen RIM's likeliest scenario

Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:50am EST
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion may still see software licensing as an important part of its turnaround plan, even though Samsung has denied that it might pay to use the BlackBerry maker's technology or even buy the company.

RIM has likely held talks with several handset makers about using its new QNX platform, said a prominent RIM shareholder, who said he was briefed by the company. The operating system, already used in the PlayBook tablet, will power RIM's next-generation smartphones due out later this year.

The shareholder, who declined to be identified because he was unauthorized to speak on the record, said he also believes Samsung is interested in a licensing deal despite its statements to the contrary.

"I'm secure they're talking about licensing stuff," the shareholder said, referring to the South Korean smartphone maker. "I don't know if they're looking to buy the company and I don't care." [ID:nL1E8CH9WN]

RIM's existing product lineup has struggled to compete with Apple's iPhone and iPad and the slew of large-screen and powerful devices from Samsung and other manufacturers using Google's Android operating system.

It also faces a resurgent Microsoft, which has built mobile software that powers Nokia's newest devices, among others.

The Canadian smartphone company has haemorrhaged U.S. market share after a year marked by product delays and a botched launch of its PlayBook tablet. That has led to a 75 percent drop in market valuation and incessant talk about a sale of the company.

RIM's shares have jumped nearly 40 percent since a Reuters report in December cited sources saying RIM had rebuffed takeover overtures from and others because it prefers to fix its problems on its own.   Continued...