All Things D: Here come the RIM – Samsung rumors again

Research In Motion’s best hope for recovery isn’t BlackBerry 10. It’s Samsung.

That’s the word from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who believes that RIM’s strategic review will culminate in a decision to license its BB10 operating system and that Samsung is the company most likely to be interested in licensing it.

“Given recent management comments in the press, it now appears that RIM is realizing what Wall Street has been saying for some time: they are a subscale manufacturer and desperately need a partner,” Misek wrote in a note to clients. “We believe RIM is attempting to revive discussions with Samsung regarding a BB10 licensing deal.”

That’s a bit of a leap, but not an entirely unreasonable one. Just last week RIM CEO Thorsten Heins acknowledged that licensing BB10 was an option under serious consideration at the company.
“We don’t have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year,” Heins said. “To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than [we] can do it.”

But is that someone to which Heins refers most likely to be Samsung? Misek certainly thinks so — and this isn’t the first time he’s floated the theory. It’s his view that Samsung through an acquisition of RIM would gain access to the company’s vast subscriber base and a means of tempering its dependence on Google’s Android OS.

“We believe Samsung is considering ramping up its internal OS [operating system] development efforts, licensing BB10, or buying RIM,” he wrote. “We think any acquisition is unlikely until after BB10 launches.”

Samsung hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment, but back in January it dispatched similar rumors with a terse statement to Reuters: “We haven’t considered acquiring the firm and are not interested in (buying RIM).”


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