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Category: Blackberry

Samsung: No, we're not interested in buying RIM

Research In Motion BlackBerry

Just one day after Research In Motion shares received a boost off news that Samsung Electronics might be interested in buying the struggling smartphone and tablet maker, Samsung came out on Wednesday and said the rumored deal isn't happening.

Samsung, the second-largest cellphone producer on the planet behind Nokia, said it is not considering taking over RIM and that it has "never" been interested in buying the BlackBerry maker, according to a Bloomberg report.

James Chung, a Samsung spokesman, told the news outlet that the Korean company and RIM, based in Canada, haven't had any contact regarding a purchase deal.

Chung also told Bloomberg that Samsung isn't interested in the rumored software licensing deals that RIM has been reportedly exploring as well.

On Tuesday, stock in RIM rose $1.30, or 8.04%, to $17.47 per share after the tech news site BGR ran a story, citing unnamed sources, stating that Samsung was the "front runner" to purchase RIM.

Of course, Samsung hasn't been the only company that has been rumored to be interested in buying RIM. Among the other potential suitors with speculated interest in RIM are Nokia, Microsoft and Amazon. RIM shares jumped 10% in December on news of possible takeover interest from Microsoft and Amazon.

This also isn't the first time that Samsung has come out and denied rumors of its interest in a smartphone property. Last September, Samsung declared its lack of interest in buying the WebOS operating system from Hewlett-Packard.

After months of trying to figure out what to do with WebOS, HP eventually decided to retain ownership, open-source the software and then move forward on developing new tablets (but no new smartphones) running the operating system.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: BlackBerry Messenger on a BlackBerry smartphone from Research In Motion. Samsung announced Wednesday that will not purchase BlackBerry maker RIM. Credit: Oliver Lang / Associated Press

Samsung reportedly 'front runner' in RIM purchase

Photo: Research In Motion's Senior Manager of Brand Marketing, Jeff Gadway discusses new BlackBerry technology in a presentation at the company's "BeBold" event at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 10, 2012. Credit: Eric Reed/AP Images for BlackBerry

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is again at the center of buyout rumors and this time the speculated buyer is consumer electronics giant Samsung.

Among other possible suitors believed to be interested in RIM are Nokia, Microsoft and Amazon, which sent shares in the smartphone and tablet maker up as much as 10% in December when the rumor mill was churning.

On Tuesday, after the website BGR published a story that stated Samsung was the "front runner" to purchase RIM, stock in the Canadian company rose $1.30, or 8.04%, to $17.47 per share.

"Research In Motion is currently weighing every single option it can think of in an effort to reverse a negative trend that is approaching a boiling point for investors," BGR said. "Reports that RIM is currently in talks to license its software to other vendors are accurate according to our trusted sources, though we have been told that RIM is most likely leaning toward an outright sale of one or more divisions, or even the whole company."

RIM officials were unavailable to comment on the BGR report on Tuesday.

The negative trend mentioned by BGR is a well-documented slide at RIM that didn't relent in 2011. In December, RIM recorded a $485-million loss on unsold PlayBook inventory after the tablet failed to live up to sales expectations since its launch in April. Every model of the PlayBook was also cut to $299 in a move to entice consumers.

With sales of the PlayBook slow, no wireless carriers have stepped up to offer a 3G or 4G version of the BlackBerry tablet as RIM had originally planned. 

RIM also dealt with multiple product delays, employee layoffs, service outages, contracting market share, disappointing earnings results and declining stock prices in 2011.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Research In Motion's senior manager of brand marketing, Jeff Gadway, discusses new BlackBerry technology in a presentation at the company's "BeBold" event at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 10. Credit: Eric Reed / AP Images for BlackBerry

CES 2012: Ford's Sync AppLink adds NPR, Slacker Radio to lineup [Video]

As General Motors introduced its first efforts to bring apps from your smartphone into your dashboard at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, Ford expanded its Sync AppLink system -- which does just that and launched about a year ago.

Ford Sync Destinations

When AppLink made its debut, Pandora was the only app a Sync user could operate via in-dash touch screen. Later, Stitcher radio gained Sync compatibility, which includes voice control as well.

Ford announced at CES in Las Vegas this week that apps for iPhones, BlackBerrys and phones that Google's Android would be added to the AppLink-friendly list, including NPR News, Slacker Radio, iHeartRadio, TuneIn Radio and Ford's own Sync Destinations turn-by-turn navigation app.

To see NPR News and Slacker Radio in action in a new Ford Mustang GT, check out our video from CES above.

Ford says that more apps that work with Sync's voice recogniton software are on the way. Oddly enough, Sync (which was developed through a partnership between Ford and Microsoft) has no AppLink compatibility with Windows Phone apps.

Just as with GM's in-car-app systems -- Chevrolet MyLink and Cadillac CUE -- AppLink can use apps only if it’s connected to a smartphone with the app installed, and it accesses data through the phone. Ford isn't selling any AppLink data plans.

For now, AppLink is available only in Sync-equipped Fiestas, Mustangs, Fusions, F-150s and Econoline vans, but the U.S. automaker is considering pushing AppLink out to other Ford brands, such as Lincoln, as well as to vehicles running older versions of Sync.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of Ford's Sync Destinations app. Credit: Ford

RIM co-CEOs reportedly may be out as board chairmen

Mike Lazaridis, Research in Motion's president, co-CEO and co-chairman

Research In Motion may reportedly relieve its co-chief executives, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, of their positions as co-chairmen of the company's board of directors.

The move comes amid shareholder pressure calling for new leadership, according to the Financial Post, a Canadian newspaper.

Jim Balsillie, co-CEO and co-chairman of Research in MotionThe shareholder pressure is due in large part to a rough 2011 for RIM in which the smartphone and tablet maker dealt with declining market share, earnings results below expectations, shrinking stock prices, multiple product delays, employee layoffs, service outages, a $485-million loss on unsold PlayBook tablet inventory and takeover rumors.

Among those under leading consideration to take over as the head of RIM's board is Barbara Stymiest, who joined RIM's board in 2007 and is the chief operating officer of the Royal Bank of Canada's Financial Group, the Financial Post said in its report.

If Lazaridis and Balsillie are removed from their shared chairman posts, the move reportedly wouldn't change their roles as co-CEOs.

Regardless of what happens, it's clear 2012 will be a major year for RIM as it is looks to rebound from 2011 and release its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, which has been under development for months.

BlackBerry 10 will be introduced on a new line of BlackBerry smartphones that will favor touchscreens over full physical keyboards and enable users to run Android apps alongside native QNX and BlackBerry 10 apps, apps developed using Adobe's AIR software and HTML5.

The new operating system, which was supposed to launch in early 2012 but has been delayed to later this year, will also run on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Top photo: Mike Lazaridis, Research in Motion's president, co-CEO and co-chairman. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Bottom photo: Jim Balsillie, co-CEO and co-chairman of Research in Motion. Credit: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

RIM cuts all BlackBerry PlayBook tablets to $299 for limited time

RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has hit a new low price -- $299 for every model.

Yup, that's $299 for the PlayBook regardless of how much storage you buy it with: 16 gigabytes, 32 gigabytes or 64 gigabytes.

RIM made the temporary price cut, which ends Feb. 4, on its BlackBerry online store. If you've been waiting to buy a PlayBook, this might be the time to go for it -- though it was offered as low as $199 on Black Friday.

Normally, the 16-gigabyte PlayBook sells for $499, the 32-gigabyte model for $599 and the 64-gigabyte unit for $699.

RIM officials weren't available on Tuesday to say just what prompted the price cut, which can fairly be described as a fire sale of sorts. But it is well known that the PlayBook hasn't lived up to RIM's sales expectations since its launch April.

Last month, RIM took a $485-million loss on unsold PlayBook inventory. The PlayBook also has yet to entice wireless carriers, as none has offered a 3G or 4G version of the BlackBerry tablet as RIM had planned.

The dramatic price cut follows what was a difficult 2011 for RIM with multiple product delays, layoffs, service outages, shrinking market share, disappointing earnings results, sliding stock prices and takeover rumors.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Mike Lazaridis, president and co-chief executive officer of Research in Motion, speaks about the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet at BlackBerry's DevCon in San Francisco on Oct. 18. Credit: Beck Diefenbach / Reuters

RIM sued over use of BBM name by BBM Canada

RIM faces lawsuit over BBM name
Research In Motion is facing a new lawsuit for its use of BBM as a name for its BlackBerry Messenger service by a Canadian radio and TV industry group known as BBM Canada.

Based in Toronto since 1944, BBM Canada filed its suit against Research In Motion this month "after attempts to negotiate failed," according to the Globe and Mail newspaper which first reported on the complaint.

Jim MacLeod, BBM Canada's chief executive, told the Globe and Mail that RIM also turned down an offer from BBM Canada in which the group would rename itself if RIM would pay for the costs of the rebranding, but the smartphone maker wasn't interested.

Officials at RIM were unavailable to comment Friday, but the company told the Globe and Mail that it doesn't comment on ongoing legal matters.

MacLeod said BBM Canada doesn't want to pick on RIM, which has had a tough year with declining market share, sliding profit and another trademark lawsuit loss over the use of the BBX name.

"We want our name back," he said in the report. "I find it kind of amazing that this wouldn't have been thought about before they decided to use the name. The same thing goes for BBX."

RIM announced in October that its next smartphone and tablet operating system would be called BBX, a name owned by the New Mexican software firm Basis International, which quickly sued RIM for trademark infringement. Earlier this month, RIM was denied use of the BBX name and announced that its next operating system would instead be known as BlackBerry 10.

BlackBerry 10 has been under development for months and was slated to launch early in 2012 before being delayed into late 2012. When it arrives, RIM says, it will be the first OS from the company to run on both smartphones and tablets -- an approach taken by Apple's iOS and Google's new Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

The delay is the latest of multiple product delays to hit RIM this year, including the delay of an update to the software running on its PlayBook tablet, which recently racked up a $485-million loss for RIM in unsold inventory. So far, no mobile carriers have offered up a 3G or 4G version of the PlayBook, and RIM has also dealt with layoffs, service outages and takeover rumors.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: BlackBerry Messenger on a BlackBerry smartphone from Research In Motion. Credit: Oliver Lang / Associated Press

RIM shares jump 10% as Microsoft, Amazon buyout talk swirls

Blackberry
Research in Motion Ltd. is going through more ups and downs than Santa's sleigh will Saturday.

The BlackBerry maker's stock rose 10% in trading on Wednesday after rumors began to circulate that the Canadian company had been in various talks to sell itself to Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Nokia Corp. 

Nothing has come of those talks, but the buzz about a possible sale lifted the battered stock above dismal lows it had hit last week when it reported that quarterly profit had sunk 70% since a year earlier. The company has faced stiffening competition from rival smartphone powers such as Google Inc. and Apple Inc., and its BlackBerry Playbook tablet joined the ranks of also-rans that failed to chip away at the dominance of Apple's iPad.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Microsoft and its ally Nokia considered making a joint bid to buy RIM, but that the status of those talks remained a secret. A second report from Reuters described similarly indefinite talks the company had with Amazon, which it said hired an investment bank to research the viability of a deal during the summer.

The stock rose $1.26, or 10.06%, to $13.78 during regular trading, but is still down nearly 77% this year.

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Photo: A customer holds BlackBerry smartphones at a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia, this month. Credit: Mast Irham / EPA

RIM stock drops after profit plummets more than 70%

Research in Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis delivers a keynote address this fall.

The long slide of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. continued Thursday as the company reported a 71% drop in profit compared with the same quarter last year.

The Ontario, Canada-based smartphone maker has seen misses pile up faster than hits in recent years, including its much-hyped BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, a competitor to Apple's iPad that has been unable to gain traction with consumers. The company resorted to slashing the PlayBook's price from $499 to $199, a decision that cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.

RIM said it shipped 150,000 PlayBooks during its most recent quarter, which ended Nov. 26. As a comparison, Apple sold close to 11 million iPads in its most recent quarter, which ended Sept. 24.

"The last few quarters have been some of the most trying in the recent history of this company," said James L. Balsillie, the company's co-chief executive, adding that "we recognize that our shareholders may feel we have fallen short in terms of product execution, market share and financial performance."

RIM's stock dropped nearly 8%, or $1.16, to $13.97 in after-hours trading. The stock price is down nearly 75% since the beginning of the year.

The company shipped 14.1 million BlackBerry devices in the quarter and said that despite other troubles, the number of total BlackBerry subscribers rose 35% to nearly 75 million worldwide.

RIM reported $270 million in profit during the quarter -- down 71% from the same quarter last year, when the company earned $911 million. Its revenue of $5.2 billion dropped 6% from the year-earlier quarter.

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Photo: Research in Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis delivers a keynote address at the BlackBerry Devcon Americas in October. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images.

Android, Apple lead U.S. smartphone market, others play catch-up

Iphone

The Android operating system's share of smartphone sales grew to 53% from January through October, up from 42% in 2010, and Apple's iOS share rose to 29%, up from 21% last year, research firm NPD Group said Tuesday.

Research in Motion, which makes the BlackBerry, continued to see its share of the smartphone market decline, plummeting to 10% in the first 10 months of this year. In 2010, it held one-fourth of the market.

Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7, Symbian OS and Palm/webOS had tiny shares of the market, with each operating system capturing no more than 3%. 

"The competitive landscape for smartphones, which has been reshaped by Apple and Google, has ultimately forced every major handset provider through a major transition," said Ross Rubin, executive director of Connected Intelligence at the NPD Group. "For many of them, 2012 will be a critical year in assessing how effective their responses have been."

Motorola is seeking to rebuild its share of the market, which was 36% five years ago but had fallen as low as 1% in the third quarter of 2009. After adopting Android, Motorola rose to 16% of the market in the fourth quarter last year but fell to 12% in the third quarter this year. But Rubin said Motorola is at least back in the game.

Another smartphone maker hoping to rebound next year is RIM. Rubin said few companies "have felt the impact of the shift to touch user interfaces and larger screen sizes as negatively," but noted that the company is beginning anew with a strong technical foundation and has already made incremental improvements this year with the release of its BlackBerry 7 operating system. In the second quarter of 2006, RIM held half of all smartphone sales, but by the third quarter this year, it had fallen to 8%.  

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Photo: An iPhone 4S. Apple's iOS share of smartphone sales grew to 29% from January through October. Credit: Robert Galbraith / Reuters

RIM denied BBX name, redubs new phone/tablet OS BlackBerry 10

RIM tweet announcing that BBX is now BlackBerry 10

Research In Motion's next BlackBerry smartphone and tablet operating system won't be called BBX after all.

Instead, RIM is going with the name BlackBerry 10 after a Federal Court in Albuquerque issued a temporary restraining order against the Canadian company, banning it from using the name BBX, which is a trademark of the New Mexico-based software firm Basis International.

Basis sued RIM in October over its use of the BBX name and rather than continue to fight the suit, RIM announced via Twitter on Wednesday that it's moving forward with its new operating system under the name BlackBerry 10.

In a tweet regarding the keynote speech at its BlackBerry DevCon Asia developer conference, currently taking place in Singapore, RIM said:

#BBDevCon Asia Keynote: BlackBerry 10 is the official name of the next generation platform that will power future BlackBerry smartphones!^BZ

Basis uses the name BBx — note the difference in capitalization — as branding for its Business Basic eXtended line of software developer tools. The BBx tools are used to build applications that can run on a number of operating systems that use the Java programming language, including Linux, Microsoft Windows, Apple's iOS and Mac OS X, and Google's Android, according to Basis, which says it trademarked the name in 1995 but has been using it since 1985.

RIM's formerly-known-as-BBX operating system has been under development for months and will be the first OS from the company to run on both smartphones and tablets — an approach taken by Apple's iOS and Google's new Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

The OS now-known-as-BlackBerry-10 is based on QNX, the current operating system found on the slow-selling BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. RIM recently announced a $485-million loss on unsold PlayBook inventory.

BlackBerry 10 will usher in increased touchscreen-based controls to new RIM phones and the OS will enable BlackBerry devices to run Android apps alongside native QNX and BlackBerry 10 apps, apps developed using Adobe's AIR software and HTML5 apps.

The software is expected to arrive on new BlackBerry phones and the PlayBook tablet early next year.

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— Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of Research In Motion's message on Twitter announcing that its BBX operating system has been renamed BlackBerry 10. Credit: Research In Motion / Twitter

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