Rumors flying high these days are of a possible takeover of Canadian cellular company Research in Motion (RIM), well known for its Blackberry phones by South Korean giants Samsung. Research In Motion may be looking beyond licensing parts of its BlackBerry operating system and moving on to selling entire divisions or more. According to sources, Samsung is very interested in the company. But it wouldn’t be to make BlackBerry devices with Samsung hardware, it would be to make ANDROID DEVICES with BLACKBERRY SOFTWARE.
When you look at why manufacturers decide to heavily customize their Android devices, it really boils down to one thing: Differentiation. While Samsung already has TouchWiz and an entire portfolio of Samsung-only apps, claiming exclusive rights to already popular BlackBerry software would give them an upper hand against their competitors. If Samsung was to outright purchase RIM, they could pick and choose how they integrate BlackBerry services (one of the major reasons being its global coverage through its Blackberry Messenger Service) and apps into their Android apps.
Earlier this week, Samsung announced plans to merge their Bada OS with Tizen, an open-sourced Linux-based OS backed by Intel. But with RIM rumored to be asking for more than $10 billion for a full sale, it’s highly unlikely Samsung would be open-sourcing BlackBerry services if they were to acquire them. In a recent statement provided to Reuters, a Samsung spokesman said the company is not interested in an outright purchase of Research In Motion. The spokesman did not address reports that Samsung is considering licensing RIM’s software, however, or purchasing a portion of RIM’s assets.
We already know 2012 is going to be an interesting year for Android and other popular companies and platforms, but if Samsung were to buy RIM, I don’t think “interesting” would cover it until and unless this rumor in fact turns out to be true.