Remember the January rumor that Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) was being considered for acquisition by Samsung Electronics (OTC: SSNLF)? That’s okay if you don’t, because they could be about to start up again.
An analyst at Jefferies has said that he thinks RIM will offer to license its Blackberry 10 operating system and that a logical licensee is Samsung. Among RIM’s problems is a lack of scale to manufacture millions of handsets with dozens of variations. That is not a problem for Samsung, the global leader in smartphone sales.
But why would Samsung want to pay a license fee for Blackberry 10 when it gets Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) for free? Paying a fee won’t help Samsung capture more smartphone sales margins, of which about 70% now flow to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). Add to that Samsung’s commitment to Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) to ship a smartphone with the Windows Phone operating system, which already has a small share of the platform market. At least the Windows Phone share of the market is growing while RIM’s share is sinking.
RIM desperately needs a white knight to carry its Blackberry 10 OS to market, and there is no better candidate than Samsung. But Samsung doesn’t need RIM, unless the Korean firm wants to get its hands on RIM’s subscriber base and lower its dependence on Google. At least that’s what the Jefferies analyst sees as Samsung’s motivation.
But what good is a subscriber base that continues to desert RIM and will only cost large sums to support? Expect this rumor to end with another declaration from Samsung that echoes their rejection of January’s rumor: “We haven’t considered acquiring the firm and are not interested in (buying RIM).” Samsung might add, “Or in anything else RIM has on offer.”
RIM’s shares are up more than 4% this morning, at $7.61 in a 52-week range of $6.56-$33.54. Volume is already nearly double the daily average of more than 19 million shares traded. Hope springs eternal.