Perhaps Research in Motion(s rimm) isn’t interested in challenging Apple(s aapl), Amazon(s amzn) and Google(s goog) in the mobile cloud services space after all. One year after buying Ireland-based synchronization and cloud storage company NewBay for a reported $100 million, RIM is selling the unit off to Synchronoss Technologies(s sncr) for $55.5 million in cash.
NewBay’s M.O. was to build operators their own branded cloud media management services such as digital photo and video storage, network-based address books, and even social networking. NewBay’s carrier customers, which include Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod) and several major European operators, could then use that software to compete against third-party platforms like Apple’s iCloud and Amazon Cloud Drive.
When RIM bought NewBay in October 2011, we expected to see RIM create its own cloud storage platform as well. With NewBay now going to Synchronoss, RIM hasn’t necessarily given up on a cloud storage service, but it’s not going to launch it with NewBay’s software. If you think about it though, RIM already runs one of the largest cloud platforms in the world through its core push-messaging apps and enterprise synchronization apps. Maybe buying didn’t work out, but it could always build or partner.
Synchronoss has been on a buying spree. Last January it bought mobile social networking company Miyowa and in July 2010 it bought mobile contact and content management provider FusionOne. Synchronoss is most famous for handling the at-home activations of the first generation of iPhones, allowing Apple to turn iTunes into a mobile-provisioning platform. The company, however, has been gradually expanding into the further reaches of the cloud, focusing on the synchronization of content and data between devices after the initial activation.