RIM May Drop BlackBerry OS Licensing Plans

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RIM is likely to drop plans to license the BlackBerry OS in order to focus on its upcoming BlackBerry 10 device, according to an analyst

Research In Motion will dump its BlackBerry OS licensing plans and focus on the upcoming BlackBerry 10’s ability to battle toe-to-toe against Apple’s iOS and Google Android, according to a new analyst report.

“Our checks indicate RIM is likely to move away from a proposal to the Board that RIM license BB10 to Samsung and launch a new BBM, email, and social networking app for iOS/Android for a monthly fee,” Peter Misek, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., wrote in a co-authored 3 February research note.

The new plan, he added, will centre on RIM competing against “Apple, Android, and Windows ecosystems with their own integrated hardware/software/services ecosystem”.

No faith

Misek doesn’t profess much faith in this plan. “We recently met with [newly minted RIM chief executive Thorsten] Heins and found him engaging, articulate, and thoughtful,” read the report. “We see no evidence that he is under the influence of the former management in any way. But we respectfully disagree with him.”

RIM has made no secret of its intention to bet heavily on BlackBerry 10, reportedly due sometime in the second half of 2012. The company’s current BlackBerry devices have failed to prevent its US market share from sliding in the face of aggressive competition from Apple’s iPhone and the growing family of Google Android smartphones.

A renewed push by Microsoft’s Windows Phone could also complicate the environment for RIM in 2012.

In a 31 January posting, the BlackBerry-enthusiast blog CrackBerry posted an image of what it called the first BlackBerry 10 device, code-named London.

Deviation from the norm

Black and ultra-slim and somewhat narrow, with a wide touch-screen and rounded edges, it represents something of a deviation from the “stereotypical” BlackBerry form factor of physical QWERTY keyboard paired to a relatively small screen. But a deviation from the norm is perhaps what RIM needs at this transitional moment in its history.

“We’re hearing that both TI OMAP5 and Qualcomm chipsets are being tested (1.5GHz dual core processors),” added the posting. “If we look ahead by looking at BlackBerry history, it could be that Qualcomm is for the CDMA [Code Division Multiple Access] carriers.”

Misek believes that RIM should continue to pursue the idea of licensing out BlackBerry 10, and giving Android and iPhone users the ability to receive secure BlackBerry email is a “mistake”.

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