Reuters: RIM Might Sell Its Network Or Form An Alliance With Microsoft

As the shares of Research In Motion continue to plunge at a steeper than expected rate, the Canadian company’s executives are facing an immense pressure to come to a decision whether to sell the network business or form an alliance with Microsoft, reports Reuters. The Blackberry maker has once again delayed the release of its next-generation smartphones announcing that the launch of BlackBerry 10 mobile devices has now been postponed to early 2013 because the development of its new operating system had “proven to be more time-consuming than anticipated”.

The report points out that the latest setback has increased pressure on RIM’s board to more seriously explore other options. One of these options is for RIM to abandon its own operating system and adopt Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8. Another option for RIM would be to sell its proprietary network to a private equity firm or a technology company.

Citing the news source:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer approached RIM shortly after Balsillie’s departure, looking to strike a partnership similar to the one the software giant has with Nokia Oyj, the sources said. Under that partnership, Nokia will use Microsoft’s latest Windows operating system on its smartphones.

In such a scenario, RIM could also look for Microsoft to buy a stake in the company and fund marketing and other expenses, the sources said. However, this option is not attractive to RIM because it would mean the end of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company’s technology independence.

The RIM board still prefers to see through the efforts to develop the new operating system.

In case RIM decides to sell is proprietary network, the company’s smartphone business is likely to have no future at all.