Report: RIM Said To Be Buying Business Contact Organizer Gist

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More RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) news coming down the wires about yet another acquisition: the BlackBerry handset maker is said to be in talks to buy Gist, an app that manages a person’s professional contacts in a “social inbox” style.

The news was first reported by GigaOm, citing industry sources.

The acquisition, if it goes through, is an obvious fit for RIM, given Gist’s focus on enterprise users. It’s social inbox management tools — which unify a person’s contacts and then lets a user organise the various feeds of information coming from them — plays into RIM’s own obvious ambitions to keep up with how business people communicate and connect today, especially in the face of increasing competition from other smartphones such as the iPhone and the many devices running Android.

There is an argument to be made for RIM focussing more on improving its services as well as devices: Yesterday when RIM reported its Q3 earnings, it said revenues grew by 40 percent compared to the same quarter last year. It shipped 14.2 million devices, but the number of BlackBerry subscriber accounts was only 5.1 million, suggesting that they are not converting so many of their buyers into users of the BlackBerry experience.

RIM, of course, will soon be fighting a two-front war in the enterprise space when it launches the PlayBook tablet sometime in the first quarter of next year. A recent report from ChangeWave Research, based on a survey of 1,600 IT buyers, that in the next three months enterprise takeup of tablets is expected to double, with the iPad leading the way.

A purchase of Gist would be the second recent acquisition made by RIM to improve user experience. The company earlier this month bought The Astonishing Tribe, a user interface specialist based in Sweden.

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