Research in Motion, the maker of BlackBerry handsets, has announced its acquisition of social contacts service Gist, a mere two months after Om said the two were in talks. The value of the acquisition wasn’t disclosed, but the rationale is clear: RIM needs some type of whiz-bang social feature that ties to its core competency of providing an awesome mobile messaging experience, and Gist’s software has that.
Gist, much like rivals Rapportive and eTacts, creates profiles of people in your business network by using publicly available information from sources such as Rapleaf and makes it available any time someone emails you. The combination of great email plus social context is a powerful one that could help RIM squeeze a bit more mileage out of the BlackBerry brand even as Apple and Android (s a goog) gain footholds in the enterprise. The question is whether or not Gist changes the trajectory of RIM. The handset maker has made several acquisitions, such as the $8.3 million buy of connected navigation company Dash, WebKit browser experts Torch Mobile, and UI shop The Astonishing Tribe and has a tablet launching soon. Maybe the focus on a good UI and social features targeted toward the enterprise will be enough to keep RIM at the heart of the corporation.
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