AMicrosoft Microsoft Corporation 232,13 -3,74 -1,59% having recently acquired the Nokia Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote HEL:NOKIA this time. phone stable as platforms for Windows Phone are still rumoured to be looking at adding the Blackberry Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote NASDAQ:BBRY this time. platform as well.
In January of Samsung Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote KRX:005930 this time. making a bid for $7.5bn the Canadian company. Blackberry squashed the rumours that day. Prior to that, Lenovo Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote HKG:0992 this time. was rumoured to offer $1bn for Blackberry.
Why are these tech giants looking at this Canadian company? In short, the wealth of intellectual property within the Blackberry organisation.The portfolio is among the most interesting element of RIM, which started by creating products that supported the Mobitex wireless switched packet network. Products included the RIMgate, a Mobitex/X.25 gateway, and a mobile Point of Sale terminal. A film keycode scanner the DigiSync (which won the company an Emmy in 1994) In 1996, they introduced a two-way pager, and in 1999 the first Blackberry pager launched. This with the Blackberry Enterprise Server provided one of the first ways to use email-on-the-move solutions. Using S/MIME and encryption on the links enabled Blackberry to gain traction with government and business. They grew substantially (8x) between 1999 and 2001.
From 2006 onwards, Blackberry also acquired a lot of organisations, and their IP with them. Many acquisitions related to encryption (e.g. Certicom), some provided browsers (Torch), and yet others a complete operating system (QNX). Others, such as DataViz are about editing and consuming the content pushed to the end devices.
Blackberry didn’t have everything their own way. They did stagnate, and fail to innovate, especially after the launch of the Apple iPhone. Since that started making in roads in to their core business customer market, they have fought back with new phones and application stores. Company growth slowed, and in 2011, Blackberry shed 2000 employees.
Blackberry lost their joint founding CEO’s in 2012, and since then has appeared to be rudderless. The change from RIM (Research in Motion) to Blackberry also occurred at that point, and focused the brand squarely on what it did. The delayed launch of the Z10 and Q10 phones running on the QNX-based Blackberry 10 OS didn’t bring the anticipated customers.
In September 2013, further layoffs (4,500) occurred. An injection of $1bn in cash , and a change of CEO altered Blackberry. They now have launched more phones in various markets, no longer develop hardware, and instead use third-party platforms.
So for any company that is looking to buy in technology, and avoid patent licensing, this could be a good buy.