If BlackBerry 10 Flops, RIM Could be Sold to Samsung, Analysts Speculate

BlackBerry 10 is a major improvement on BB7 but not enough to take back share from Apple, say analysts with Jefferies. After BB10's debut, they expect Samsung to purchase RIM as a mobile OS fallback plan.

Research In Motion is counting on its delayed BlackBerry 10 platform to reinvigorate its brand, increase smartphone sales and, in short, save the once-industry-leading company. Analysts with investment firm Jefferies, however, are now saying they don't expect BlackBerry 10 will live up to RIM's expectations.

After trying out RIM's Dev Alpha--a mock smartphone RIM provided to developers so that they can try out the in-progress new platform--they believe the OS is unlikely to make a dent in Apple's iOS standings, especially as the company prepares the new iOS 6.

"We see significant potential for BlackBerry 10 , and it certainly is a vast improvement over BB7," the analysts wrote in an Aug. 7 report. "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."

RIM's period of strategic reviews is likely coming to an end soon, and the company is expected to offer an update during its Sept. 27 earnings call. The answer to a number of questions, says the report, is likely to be: Samsung.

The analysts--equity analyst Peter Misek is the lead author of the report--believe Samsung walked away from earlier talks with RIM but is still considering a BlackBerry 10 licensing deal.

The Android-supporting device maker is on top of the world these days; it has surpassed long-time leader Nokia to become the world's top-shipping phone maker, outsold Apple in the smartphone market and established itself as Apple's main rival in the tablet space. However, market watchers are well aware that all good things come to an end.

"RIM, Nokia and Motorola provide stern warnings that any high-flying mobile phone company can crash in a two-year period," wrote the analysts, reiterating that that they see no near-term issues with Samsung but that its 2.5-year outlook is concerning.

This article was originally published on 08-08-2012
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