Is it Time for RIM to be Acquired?

Ben Bajarin / September 6th, 2011

The short answer is yes. And it seems like RIM’s investors are starting to chime in and suggest the company look for a suitor.

The technology industry landscape has changed drastically in the last few months. I have written in a number of our reports why we believe that in this new landscape some companies will be better suited to compete together rather than alone. I believe RIM is one of these companies who alone will most likely fizzle into nothingness.

In my column at Techland which is the tech section of Time.com, I explained all the things RIM needs to do if they want to stay relevant in the future. The one point i’ll now add is to be acquired. The main point being that RIM is not a consumer company.

They do not have the DNA to make, market and sell products to consumers. As a matter of fact I think the industry is learning that there are very few companies who do have the DNA to make, market and sell products to consumers.

I believe RIM has the DNA to make, market and sell products to the enterprise. Now we can debate that the consumer-ization of IT could impact any company only selling to enterprises, but that is for another time.

I firmly believe that if RIM is to stay relevant they need to focus on building hardware, software and services specially designed for the business class.

So then the question is who should acquire RIM? Well there is another company who I believe does not have consumer DNA, who is still in the hardware business, and who plans to focus more on the enterprise – that company is Dell. Dell should buy RIM.

Dell’s attempts at smart phones and tablets have yet to become market successes. The company needs help expanding its mobile footprint as a part of the overall Dell solution. Dell is a solutions company and they think like a solutions company. Mobile is a critical part of the Dell solution and the bottom line is they need help.

I believe DELL and RIM are a classic example of two companies who are stronger together rather than separate. With’s Dell’s market cap at just over $25 billion and RIM’s just over $15 billion this would be more of a merger than acquisition.

The real question is whether or not Michael Dell has it in him to do a deal like this. There is uncertainty how competitive an HP spinoff of the PC business could be and this makes for an interesting variable from Dell. Dell’s real concern however should be companies like Samsung and Acer who will be able to compete with them on price.

If Dell bought / merged with RIM I think the two companies could orient themselves to be extremely competitive in the enterprise solutions space. Enterprise is not the sexiest of business’ but it is better than having no business at all.

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio
  • Ben

    For the longest time I didn’t think that RIM was a consumer company either, until my son went to high school. I can tell you from watching what phones are in those kids hands, RIM is doing something right with teenage girls.

    The boys all have iphones and droids, but there is a huge contingent of teenage/high school girls who carry blackberries. I’ve never been able to figure it out either.

    That said, it’s obvious that there is a serious consolidation going on in this industry and the smaller players are going to be swept up in the consolidation. Last I looked at the market data, there were three handset companies that were growing in the smartphone category (Apple, Samsung and HTC) and the rest were shrinking. Guess you have a pretty good idea of the consolidation targets….

  • Rich

    “I firmly believe that if RIM is to stay relevant they need to focus on building hardware, software and services specially designed for the business class. I believe RIM has the DNA to make, market and sell products to the enterprise.”

    Then why does RIM need to be acquired?

    • Anonymous

      Because current management will not give up on consumer. So they need new management, which would only come with a major shakeup.

      Besides the point that they would be stronger together with a company with complimentary hardware. AND the vertical trend would kill RIM if it doesn’t have a larger partner to integrate vertically with.

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