It’s hard to see Research in Motion (NSDQ: RIMM) making it through 2012 without some sort of massive change, but could that really involve a sale of the company to Samsung? That’s what a new report claims, flying in the face of earlier reports that RIM’s management and board of directors were leaning against a sale.
BGR reported Monday that RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie is pressing Samsung to buy the struggling handset maker, which is under immense pressure to turn around BlackBerry sales in the U.S. Samsung is potentially interested according to the report but has balked at RIM’s suggested price.
There are a few reasons this would make sense if the tech industry had its own version of fantasy sports: RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger client is far more widely used than a similar Samsung effort, RIM still has tons of relationships with enterprise customers that Samsung might like, and RIM has a patent portfolio that could insulate Samsung against further attacks from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), such as the latest one filed in Germany over Android smartphones.
Real life is far more complicated, however. RIM’s management has been quite resistant to change over the past few years, one of the main reasons it finds itself in its current mess. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that despite overtures from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Balsillie was more inclined to see what happens after the delayed launch of the BlackBerry 10 handsets.
It’s possible those handsets have been delayed again or that RIM’s board has finally started to exert real pressure on management, but a Samsung-RIM deal would seem like a very pricey distraction for Samsung, which is doing quite well on its own. While Samsung might want its own software to counter a potential Google-Motorola (NYSE: MMI) product, I can’t think of any good reason why it would want RIM’s BlackBerry 10 software.
Updated 7:18 p.m.: Samsung threw cold water on this report once it arose for work Wednesday morning in South Korea. “We haven’t considered acquiring the firm and are not interested in (buying RIM),” a company spokesman told Reuters.