Earlier today, Bloomberg’s news team published a really interesting story on RIM with credible sources, unlike all those supply chain rumours that led Apple’s Tim Cook to tell analysts to smarten the hell up.
Here’s the short version of what’s going on: Bloomberg interviewed Lenovo’s Chief Financial Officer at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. In the interview, the Chinese computer maker’s CFO spoke about possible acquisitions or strategic alliances.
He said, “We are looking at all opportunities -- RIM and many others.” Showing they are serious about diversifying away from being a pure PC shop, he said,
“We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.”
The rest of the Bloomberg story discusses the context around this situation. The PC market is shrinking, RIM has been a troubled company, but is on the rebound, an acquisition of RIM would trigger a review by the Canadian government, etc.
I do not think it makes sense for Lenovo to bid on RIM. But I do think it makes perfect sense for them to form a strategic partnership. Remember that Lenovo is a Chinese company. RIM does business with the most of the governments around the world for enterprise communication. Want to bet that RIM in Chinese hands will cause just a tad of worry? Ok, not a fair bet. I understand if you don’t want the other side of that one.
But a strategic partnership? That makes way more sense. What form could this take? It could be an exclusive licensing of BlackBerry 10. It could be an outright sale of the hardware business. It could be a modified licensing and marketing agreement where Lenovo goes after the emerging markets.
Right now Lenovo isn’t on the map with Android either. They’d probably have a tough time competing against Samsung in that space. And they’d have a tough time up against Nokia with Windows Phone (which may not be the best platform bet anyway).
So RIM makes sense. But I don’t think we’ll see anything for a few months, minimum. Remember - Thorsten has said they need to prove their platform first. Deals come later.