When Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry 10 (BB10) launches and if it fails, Samsung may buy the company to have a backup OS in its pocket, an analyst believes.
The comments come from a report headed by analyst Peter Misek from investment firm Jefferies. The report reveals that the firm thinks RIM is ready to talk licensing with Samsung for BB10.
As response, Samsung has told All Things Digital and it told the publication that “Samsung Electronics has not considered the acquisition of Research in Motion or licensing BB10.”
Nonetheless, it’s interesting to follow the reasoning of the Jefferies analysts.
According to Misek and his colleagues, BB10 brings a lot of improvement from BlackBerry 7 (BB7). However, the fact that BB10 is an improvement from BB7 will fail to uplift RIM to previous levels, the report says.
This echoes sentiments of Sprint which said last week that RIM will never regain its past status.
Sprint spokesperson David Owen said that “We don’t think we will see RIM get back to the levels they were two years ago. So we have to figure out where they’ll be going forward.”
He said, however, that he “would not count RIM out. RIM keeps reinventing itself. BlackBerry 10, as we’ve looked at it, has some really good characteristics.”
“They took on the entire gambit: the storefront, the operating system, the manufacturing, and this caused them to be slow in reacting to the changes in the market,” the Sprint executive said.
The same goes for these Jefferies analysts. After trying out BB10, the analysts say that while it is a vast improvement from BB7, it will not surpass Apple’s iOS 6 or Google’s Android 4.1.
“We see significant potential for [BB10], and it certainly is a vast improvement over BB7. However, we believe it is highly unlikely that it will be an improvement over iOS 6 and about equal to Android 4.1. Therefore, we see little chance RIM can take share away from Apple with BB10,” the analysts said.
Therefore, the analysts venture, RIM will not rise to its previous height because of BB10.
As for the reason behind why Samsung may want to buy RIM or license BB10, the authors said: “RIM, Nokia and Motorola provide stern warnings that any high-flying mobile phone company can crash in a two-year period.”
They added that Samsung’s “2.5-year outlook is concerning”. This is because Samsung is very dependent on Android as of the moment.
It has done well, however, with it being the top Android smartphone vendor in the past quarter.
The analysts wrote:
“Samsung has leveraged its scale, its vertical hardware integration and Google’s Android OS to attain its current position, but the company recognizes the increasing importance of software and the danger in not owning their software.
In his inaugural speech last week, Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-Hyun said, ‘A particular focus must be given to serving new customer experience and value by strengthening soft capabilities in software, user experience, design and solutions.’”
RIM may also now be realizing that it cannot go at it alone in the smartphone and tablet industry if it wants to survive long-term.
Just last week, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said in an interview that they may license BB10 after it launches.
“We don’t have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year. We have to differentiate and have a focused platform,” he said.
This is so BB10 will be present and fighting in the lower segment of the smartphone industry.
“To deliver BB10, we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than [RIM] can do it,” he added. “There’s different options we could do that we’re currently investigating.”
“You could think about us building a reference system, and then basically licensing that reference design, have others build the hardware around it – either it’s a BlackBerry or it’s something else being built on the BlackBerry platform,” he said bringing up the possibility that other manufacturers like Samsung, Sony or LG can make a BB10 device.
However, the CEO said it’s too early to be specific and certain about this.
“We’re investigating this and it’s way too early to get into any details. We have to also model this from a finance perspective – that’s why we’re working with the financial advisers to see if we do this where would it take the company. Either we do it ourselves or we do it with a partner. But we will not abandon the subscriber base,” he said.
According to the analysts, RIM will not sell itself until BB10 is out and the company has put a value on it.
Images 1, 2 & 3 from Official BlackBerry Images on Flickr (CC)
BB10, RIM, Research In Motion, Samsung, acquisition, BlackBerry 10,