Is Research In Motion Up for Sale ?

Research In Motion, once a king in the smartphone space, has been struggling with shifting consumer tastes and declining subscriber base.

The buzz in the market is about Research In Motion: Few days ago, the Chief Financial Officer of the Chinese tech giant Lenovo announced that the company is looking for several acquisition targets, one of which is Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM). The beleaguered BlackBerry handset manufacturer is struggling hard to regain its lost glory in the global smartphone market under severe competitive pressure from Apple Inc. (AAPL) developed iPhone and Google Inc. (GOOG) developed Android-based smartphones.

We believe a real turnaround of Research In Motion will take more time than previously expected as we remain uncertain about when the company will achieve profitability.A change in revenue model of high-margin Services segment and a drop in BlackBerry’s global subscriber base are other near-term concerns. However,the market is eagerly waiting for the company’s next-generation Blackberry 10-based (QNX software) smartphones, slated for launch on Jan 30, 2013.

Management has high hopes on this operating system as it is believed to be different from the existing products in the market with respect to navigation, software integration, speed and convenience of gesture reorganization, touch screen, and unique security. At present, 150 carriers have given a trial run of this product and 120 business enterprises have tested its Enterprise services beta programs.

Research In Motion, once the global leader of smartphones and Nokia Corp. (NOK), the former king of the global mobile phone segment have been struggling since the last 3-4 years, as both of them failed to identify how consumers’ preferences are changing and considered their legacy operating systems as cash cows for a long time.

Regardless of the long-time rumor of a possible sale of Research In Motion, we believe nothing will materialize immediately. On the other hand, if BlackBerry 10 based devices also fail to get commendable market traction, then the chance of Research In Motion’s wind up will hasten. At present, Nokia has a Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Research In Motion, Apple and Google, have a Rank #3 (Hold).


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