Research in Motion is possibly considering splitting its business in two, separating its handset production division from its messaging network.
The Sunday Times, which uncovered the news, reported that RIM may be looking to sell its BlackBerry business to Facebook or Amazon. It could then focus on its messaging business, which would then likely be opened up to rivals like Apple and Google.
RIM’s CEO issued a somewhat vague statement this morning concerning the news about the separation: “RIM has hired advisers to help the Company examine ways to leverage the BlackBerry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic business model alternatives,” said Thorsten Heins. “We believe the best way to drive value for our stakeholders is to execute on our plan to turn the company around. This remains true”.
Based on his comments, it appears that Heins’ plan for RIM is to get his company back on track with a successful launch of devices running the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system. Any other possibilities would be a last resort, but RIM is keeping its options open.
BlackBerry in Trouble
RIM is considering the radical alternatives because it’s having serious difficulties. Sales of BlackBerry smartphones have dropped considerably over the last year or so, and the company’s Playbook tablet hasn’t garnered the sales RIM had hoped.
It is faced with a rising supply of unsold inventory, and lagging customer interest as business users increasing switch to the iPhone or handsets running the Android OS.