Google buys Motorola’s cellphone branch, which, apparently, is good news for RIM
The big news from Wall Street this morning is that Google found some $12 billion in its sofa cushions and decided to splurge on a cellphone maker. Motorola Mobile, the cellphone division that’s responsible for some of the better Android smartphones on the market, is now going to be part of the Google cult family. While at first glance this marriage of search giant and tech factory would seem like bad news, bizarrely, it actually might be good news for Research in Motion (and, really, the first the BlackBerry maker has heard in a while).
Who else should be feeling good? Research In Motion shareholders, perhaps. Its stock is up almost 8 per cent at $26.45 in premarket trading on the Nasdaq. Nokia shares leapt almost 11 per cent to $5.93.
Because although Google’s move is all about its rivalry with Apple Inc., there’s speculation that Microsoft Corp. might buy either RIM or Nokia to stay in the smartphone game.
It seems that despite the fact that RIM continues to sell well in the developing world, its weakness in the consumer market is now so severe that it’s great news when its competitors band together to crush Microsoft—only because it means that Microsoft might, in turn, be forced to buy RIM to keep pace. Of course, Microsoft already has a relationship with Nokia (thanks in large part to Nokia’s Canadian CEO), so it’s difficult to see why Bill Gates would want to takeover RIM, especially given that the company’s tablet offerings are as weak as Microsoft’s own.
And because RIM really can’t catch a break, the (kind of, sort of) good news came with the bad: last week, Sprint announced it wouldn’t be offering the 4G version of RIM’s PlayBook, another embarrassing blow for the Waterloo-based firm. But, hey, if a computer super-giant were angling to snap up the company, now would be the right time—RIM is currently worth a small fraction of its summer 2008 high.