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Businesses Canada Technology

Research In Motion To Be Sold, Possibly To Samsung 218

New submitter ve6ay writes "The talk of the tech world over the past day is that RIM, struggling mightily in these last months, was in talks to be bought either partially or wholly by Samsung. Sources at the Boy Genius Report indicate that while RIM may be trying to sell, it is asking way too much for itself."
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Research In Motion To Be Sold, Possibly To Samsung

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  • Old news is old (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @09:16AM (#38736860) Homepage Journal

    Old news is even denied by Samsung [reuters.com].

  • Too late. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @09:18AM (#38736868)
  • And to think, it was not too long ago that a Blackberry was "the phone to own".

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      And to think, it was not too long ago that a Blackberry was "the phone to own".

      Now it's the phone to get 0wned!

    • by GNious ( 953874 )

      According to our management, it still is!
      (Unless you are said management, then the only right phone is the iPhone)

    • It is still very much the phone of choice for teenage rioters in England. That's probably not good for its image in the premium market.

  • by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @09:21AM (#38736902)

    I don't think this rumour of samsung buying out RIM is true, but it's worth noting that RIM's share price took a dive when Samsung denied it, theoretically that could have been a clever move by the big S to make the purchase cheaper.

    Frankly, though, I don't think RIM has anything of value to offer Samsung.

    • It does seem a little odd. Also, the suggestion of Samsung distancing itself from the Android eco-system (in the BGR article) is the opposite of what I want from a phone manufacturer. I have the Galaxy Nexus, and the pairing of Samsung's phone design and Android ICS is very slick. If anything, I'd say there's a big shiny niche in the market for the first manufacturer to decide to offer vanilla ICS on all their handsets instead of adding their own UI over the top.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @09:41AM (#38737070) Homepage Journal

    If I were the US president, I wouldn't want my Blackberry [infosecuri...gazine.com] to be at the mercy of a South Korean corporation. It's risky enough for a Canadian corp to be running such a sensitive device, but if it's going to be foreign (and so not entirely subject to US laws, and obviously having a national interest that sometimes competes with America's), Canadian is about the least risky. Especially after decades of integration with sensitive US operations, including the space arm on the NASA shuttles. But South Korea is not nearly as reliable, given its understandably different national interests and lower integration with US law. Not to mention the higher stakes in S. Korea with its insane nuke-armed neighbor changing kings and looking for new terms in their permanent war backed by the US.

    In any case President Me would rather have an Android phone, with an OS my spooks could inspect with a fine toothed comb, than a closed OS - whether foreign made or not. I wouldn't want Steve Jobs' ghost having secret access to my top-secret iPhone messages, especially when there are so many laws and lawsuits Apple could use my help "fixing". Even just tracking my location through a commercial datacenter seems a breach of national security.

    The US has such a large military, and budget to match, that I'd expect the White House to come with our own government smartphones on a secure network. There's no reason my phone couldn't use a gateway device carried by my entourage that goes over a secure military satellite network, even if the gateway is too big for me to carry myself. I don't carry the nuke football, either. But I could carry a civilian smartphone, battery out, in case I was separated from my entourage and as a last resort had to make a call on a public network.

  • The whole slew of articles depends on inference, rumors, and anonymous sources. Par for the course.

    The most ignorant moment, however, comes in the itworld article, when they claim that stock movements are giving credence to the rumors: RIM went up by 6.7%.

    That's what happens for rumors, even crazy ones: stock prices go up. Credible rumors, however, would produce more action than that. Actual plans in the works, actual offers on the table, would create much, much more: the same article talks about Yahoo!
  • by billcarson ( 2438218 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @09:47AM (#38737124)
    I don't see at what point Blackberry failed? They started out as a messenger aimed at the corporate world, with reliability, uptime and ease of use as their selling points. They still offer that. The business world still has a need for this type of communication. What went wrong? I think it is a pity to see a motivated company like this go down.
    • by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @09:59AM (#38737214)

      They failed at: reliability, uptime and ease of use
      Real life example:
      - Today i just missed a rescheduled meeting because my BlackBerry failed to ring the alarm (usually happens after too many days with no reboot);
      - Had about 4 half-day to full-day outages in the last month;
      - BES server upgrade caused ~15% of the Blackberry users in my department to lose access for around 3 days and then they had to reformat their devices to be able to receive mail again.

      • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

        How the f** can they screw up an alarm clock? It happened to me too. It just blew my mind.

        I swapped my Blackberry 9700 for a Nokia C3. The Nokia does half as much, but I was sick of wasting my time with my unreliable POS Blackberry. The C3 was supposed to be temporary, it's not perfect, but I'm getting good at working around its quirks.

      • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @01:04PM (#38739462) Homepage

        Yup. I do IT support, and we support blackberries, iPhones, Android phones, etc. From my point of view, here's the breakdown:

        Blackberry: People tell us they buy them because they're super-reliable business phones with lots of security features, but no one uses those security features and we get constant complaints about devices crashing, email not sending, and email not downloading. It's a headache to troubleshoot because of the weirdness of the setup-- resending service books, deactivating/reactivating phones is a hassle. Then every once in a while, every Blackberry in the world stops working because RIM essentially engineered a single point of failure for no apparent reason.

        Android: Generally hard to support because there are so many models and they might be very different. How do you set up [x] on phone [y]? I don't know. I have to look it up because who knows which version of Android is installed or what UI customizations the manufacturer put on top of them? Most likely, I won't find good online instructions, so I'll need to get the phone in my hands and fiddle with it myself before I can say how to do anything with it. Other than that, they're kind of mostly fine. Some are good, but some are crap.

        iPhone: If you don't have a specific reason to get a different kind of smartphone, just get an iPhone. They work. They're stable. There's a lot of development for the platform, and lots of things are well supported. I get very few complaints that aren't something obscure (e.g. why can't I sync Exchange public folders to my iPhone?), and most people are ultimately happy with them, even when they didn't think they would be ahead of time. I can tell you how to set up your email on an iPhone without looking it up, because it's the same on every iPhone and iPad. Email doesn't mysteriously stop syncing-- if it stopped syncing, you probably don't have reception or a Wifi connection. It's almost that simple.

        • Your Blackberry experience matches mine, but the settings menu for Androids is exactly the same across all models. Load the settings app, go to accounts and sync, then press add account. I don't know of an Android phone that doesn't have this exact series of buttons.

          • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @02:36PM (#38740500) Homepage

            Not all Android phones even have the same physical buttons along the bottom of the screen, and they're in different order sometimes. The procedure that you have to use to get to a list of applications can be different from one phone to another. Older Androids didn't even have Exchange support, though there's a generation of Android models where the manufacturer added in Exchange support before Google did, which I believe also leads to other possible variations in options.

            Now I'm not saying it's bad, but it's not all simple and uniform. A lot of people I support aren't that tech savvy, and I need to give them instructions that are exact, i.e. "Press this button, scroll down halfway through the page until you see something labelled [whatever]. The third option on the next menu will be [whatever]..." If the placement in the list is different or the label is different, you may as well be speaking German.

            And I don't say this because I'm intimately familiar with every model of Android, but I've had the experience of looking at an Android phone and saying, "OK, click this button, scroll down and look for an option that says [whatever]," and having the person on the other end go, "There is no option called [whatever]." Because they had a different model and the settings had been reorganized someplace else.

      • At least you have an alarm that actually works with the phone off. Neither ios or android does this.

        • by vakuona ( 788200 )

          I don't know about that. I took my BB out of the country, and switched it off, because I would otherwise incur stupidly steep data charges. I had a daily alarm turned on though...

          First thing was the stupid phone woke up while I was in the plane. Now, that is probably not a big deal, but it turned itself on to ring the alarm. Old phone ued to only ring the alarm, but the blackberry has to turn everything on to ring the alarm. Ridiculous.

          At the time I convinced myself that I had forgotten to turn the damn pho

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @10:02AM (#38737256)

      (Posting AC because I'm at work)

      I don't see at what point Blackberry failed?

      What? Really? I can tell you the exact moment their downfall began. It's when the iPhone was announced and they decided they didn't have to adapt. Every other major phone maker quickly shifted gears, to one degree or another, except RIM. And RIM has been failing ever since. It's only recently that the downward fall has accelerated to this staggering degree but it all began the instant the iPhone was announced.

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @10:35AM (#38737642) Homepage

      They were revolutionary in their day, but now everyone offers email on their phones...

      They failed to move with the times, so now while they still offer the same features everyone else offers something more and RIM devices are now perceived as dated and boring.

      Their products are tied to Microsoft (BES requires windows and is primarily tied to exchange), who released a competitor in the form of activesync and bundle it for free with exchange, rim cannot possibly be cheaper because if you have everything you need to run a blackberry server you also have activesync, and likely also have an MS sales rep in your ear.

      They try to lock you in to their products (you need a blackberry server, a blackberry handset and a blackberry specific data plan), but aren't big enough to get away with this strategy... Even MS Activesync is more open, there are multiple implementations on both the client and server end, and they work with standard carrier data plans.

      They route traffic through their servers, creating an additional single point of failure. With a standard data plan the traffic is routed by the telco to your server via the Internet... With RIM the data is routed by the telco to rim via the internet, who they route it back to you via the internet... If RIM has an outage (and they have had several recently) then you are dead in the water... If your internet connection or telco suffers an outage you have the ability to change provider with minimal fuss, if RIM has an outage you have to migrate away from blackberry to another manufacturer which means changing your server infrastructure and replacing handsets.

      The non enterprise (ie consumer oriented) blackberry service is intentionally crippled.

      It is becoming more common for employees to provide their own phones rather than using company supplied ones, not many people want to buy a blackberry for their own use (partly due to the crippled consumer level service).

    • Well one problem was, to qout a common cliche, "It's the interface stupid!"
      The fonts on the BB are crap.
      The whole UI design suffers the same problem as the UI on the PS3 - it looks like it was designed by an engineer instead of the sexy UI of the iPhone or XBox360 :-/

      Sexy devices sell. RIM completely under estimated the importance of having a clean, easy, consistent UI - the iPhone showed everybody you don't need to be stuck with shitty UIs on a phone - and sexy sells.

    • by Zerbey ( 15536 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @12:07PM (#38738756) Homepage Journal

      They failed because they refused to innovate, expecting that they would continue on customer loyalty alone. It hasn't happened.

  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @09:50AM (#38737140) Homepage Journal

    RIM joins a long range of former tech prom queens and class presidents that did not make it:

    Palm, altavista, NeXT, digg, motorola, SGI, Sun, Spice Girls.

    • by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @09:55AM (#38737172)

      Dunno if I'd include NeXT in that list. It was bought out by a bigger richer company that wanted its technology and IP, and I'm posting using that technology right now.

      • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @10:05AM (#38737306) Homepage Journal

        You are missing the point. I am using the energy and aminoacids from the Shith kebob I ate this morning. It does not make the chicken successful.

        • I wish I had mod-points. That's funny but it's also brilliantly insightful (well, once I read it in context, GP was hidden at first which made it...odd).
        • If after breakfast, you had suddenly developed feathers, a beak, and the uncontrollable urge to peck at the ground, the chicken might be feeling a certain sense of satisfaction from its coop in Chicken Heaven.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Dunno if I'd include NeXT in that list. It was bought out by a bigger richer company that wanted its technology and IP, and I'm posting using that technology right now.

        Actually, I'm surprised Apple didn't make a move. RIM's got a few good patents in their portfolio. One of their biggest is the keyboard patent (yes, the thumb board is patented, which is why the thumbboard on blackberries just feels a LOT better than any other thumbboard around. Too bad that the stuff around the keyboard sucks, though).


    • I really wouldn't include Altavista and Digg in this list. The rest of those companies had real physical products. Altavista and Digg just set up websites. Some others you might want to add to the list are DEC, Commodore, Tandy, and 3DFX
  • "dwarfed by its two superior competitors" Apple and Google. I'll give it to Apple because they actually build products but Google? How much does it matter how large they are they don't make the devices and it isn't either of those companies' only product so it isn't like they are dedicated to the market and that they wouldn't just pump their money elsewhere if it didn't work out.

  • The MSM owners control this story. The only thing wrong with RIM is lack of MSM funding.
  • by brucmack ( 572780 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:03AM (#38737990)

    RIM may not have a future as an independent company, but they should still be able to fetch a good price. They've got a nice fat patent portfolio, and likely also a nice portfolio of enterprise customers that are too locked-in to be switching from BB anytime soon.

  • RIM is already dead (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Casca ( 4032 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @11:48AM (#38738532) Journal

    They just don't know it yet. I have their latest and greatest 9860 (because I don't have a choice - thanks corporate idiots), and it is a complete and utter piece of shit. The first phone bricked itself within the first week, common problem with this model. The screen is plastic, and feels like it. The touchscreen is horribly inaccurate, making typing on it something dreadful and to be avoided. The on/off button is the entire top of the phone, so when you slip it in a pocket, it is very likely to turn the screen on. It is so under-powered, I'm constantly playing the guessing game of "did I tap the dialog box or not". The "app store" looks like the bargain bin at Blockbuster. Every time I pick this phone up it pisses me off.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I believe RIM is a formerly amazing company suffering from an advanced and fatal case of MBA.

    I always heard that RIM was serious in to business culture. When the company does implode, I bet we'll find that the entire organization was pretty much completely comprised of various levels of middle managers and executives, with very few people getting actual work done.

    RIM's products have severely stagnated and their new OS efforts are pretty much going nowhere. Worse, they can't even seem to port their core mess

  • The front page of today's Calgary Herald business section suggests the rumors are not true, Samsung is not interested in RIM:

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Samsung+interested/6012112/story.html [calgaryherald.com]

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.