The internet is buzzing with speculation suggesting that Amazon could put in a bid for Canadian smartphone manufacturer Research In Motion. The Blackberry makers have had a rough year, with product delays, network outages and declining profits and share value, making it the perfect target for Amazon’s ruthless acquisition strategy.
RIM started the year as the creators of what is reportedly the second most used smartphone OS – its Blackberry range of smartphones and technology was beaten second only to Apple’s iOS in January. However the company’s Playbook tablet, which launched in April 2011, paled in comparison to its Apple rival the iPad2, with blundering oversights such as a lack of a standalone e-mail client. In July, RIM announced the company would lose 10% of its work force.
The problems continued later into the year, with many in the UK citing Blackberry’s BBM instant messaging service as a key tool used by the London rioters and the infamous four day service blackout in October. This month RIM announced it would not be releasing any more phones until late 2012. Could this be just a sign of the company wanting to regroup and iron out their problems, or perhaps a sign of something worse?
Despite the rough year RIM has had, the company still has its admirers. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Microsoft and Nokia were both interested in buying the company, and Reuters claim that in the summer Amazon had hired an investment banker to explore buying RIM, however an official offer has yet to materialise.
Amazon has made many high profile acquisitions this year. In January it bought DVD postal and online movie streaming service LoveFilm for £200m, and in July they acquired rival online bookseller The Book Depository. There were also rumours this year that Amazon was set to make an offer for the US version of LoveFilm, Netflix.
Insider sources at RIM have claimed that the company wants to focus its efforts and sort out its own problems. Amazon have certainly been making more moves toward the technology market, with the runaway success of the Kindle product, however it’s likely that 2012 will see an interesting and crucial year for Research in Motion.