Mobile

Samsung would be crazy to buy RIM (updated)

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Imagine you’re a Samsung executive. You’ve just emerged from yet another Consumer Electronics Show, where your products and press conference were among the hottest tickets at an otherwise dull affair. Your televisions and phones have consumers drooling — hell, even your home appliances are popular.

What better way to top off all of your success than to buy the struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion?

If you think that sounds crazy, I’m right there with you. Samsung is reportedly the front runner in negotiations to acquire RIM, seemingly despite all good sense, according to the mobile site Boy Genius Report.

BGR’s Jonathan Geller writes:

We have heard that [RIM co-CEO] Jim Balsillie is actively meeting with almost every company that might be interested in either a part or all of RIM, in addition to having talks about licensing. “Jim is going hard after Samsung,” said a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

The “trusted source” tells the site that RIM is meeting with “almost every” company that may be interested in purchasing the company, a part of it, or merely striking a licensing deal for its software. RIM may have trouble finding a buyer because its co-CEOs are pricing the company around $12 billion to $15 billion, well past its $8.5 billion market cap, the sources say.

I’m just hoping this is a tall tale meant to raise RIM’s profile in the eyes of investors (its stock rose around 9 percent to a high of $17.93 today), because Samsung doesn’t really have much to gain by snapping up RIM. BGR notes that the Korean computer company may be interested in RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger, or in having another operating system to further distance itself from Google, but those aren’t reason enough to pay top dollar for a sinking ship.

During RIM’s third quarter earnings call last month, the company announced that its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 devices won’t be available until the end of 2012. That news came directly on the heels of poor BlackBerry PlayBook sales and yet another major revenue drop. All the while, RIM’s co-CEOs, Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, sounded inexplicably elated and out of touch with the company’s problems.

Platforms die. Consumers move on. Samsung doesn’t have much reason to tie itself down with RIM when it’s doing a fine job of dominating the market on its own.

Update: As Reuters reports, Samsung representative James Chung completely squashes this rumor: “We haven’t considered acquiring the firm and are not interested in (buying RIM),” he said.