Lenovo eying BlackBerry maker RIM

BlackBerry maker RIM is in a precarious position. The firm continues to lose smartphone market share, and it seems like the only people still using BlackBerry devices are those who got them free through their employers. Rumors that RIM would be picked up by another company have made the rounds before, but this time, there's some added weight. Lenovo CFO Wong Wai Ming has confirmed that RIM is one of the "opportunities" being considered by the PC maker. According to Bloomberg, "Lenovo has spoken to RIM and its bankers about various combinations or strategic ventures."

Of course, Ming didn't confirm whether Lenovo was considering buying RIM outright. The Canadian government may have objections to a foreign takeover of its high-tech native son, but Bloomberg quotes MKM Partners analyst Michael Genovese as saying federal regulators could approve a deal that keeps RIM's software and intellectual property in Canada. The BlackBerry hardware business is viewed as more of a commodity, he says.

RIM's future likely hinges on the reaction to BlackBerry 10, the next-generation operating system due to be released at the end of the month. CEO Thorsten Heins has stated that RIM is open to licensing the OS to third-party handset makers, an opportunity that might suit Lenovo's interest in expanding its business beyond the PC. Folks who have been around for a while will recall that Lenovo is no stranger to buying up big names; in 2005, it acquired IBM's PC division.

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