It has been confirmed that RIM will be licensing its new operating system Blackberry 10. Rumour has been rife for weeks with analysts claiming that RIM will, others saying they won’t so now we know, but what does it mean?
Earlier this month RIM CEO wouldn’t comment on the rumours that BB10 would be licensed. Once such rumour was that Samsung we’re first in line to acquire the license which was shot down almost as soon as it had begun, by Samsung themselves stating they had absolutely no intention of licensing BB10.
In an interview with Heins, RIM’s CEO, the possibility of licensing has been a possibility for some time, going so far as to say that “[we] may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a better cost proposition than I can do it”
Later in an interview with Bloomburg Heins confirmed that yes “The platform can be licensed”
Whats in it for RIM
Licensing BB10 may in fact be RIM’s only hope for survival. With more and more consumers moving to the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy range RIM need to do something in order to get back in the game, and licensing may in fact be the key.
When rumours started circulating that RIM may start licensing their software their stock jumped 13% and stayed at that level for approximately 6 days, a much need boost. RIM’s revenue last quarter was down $518 million and dropping.
The real question is who would license the OS? BB9 is old and out of date lacking many of the current smart phone market’s features. Whilst still popular in many enterprise industries its fading quickly from the consumer market. Will BB10 be that different from its predecessor?
No news is available as to who would be interested in RIM and its difficult to imagine any of the larger manufacturers taking it on, however this is TechTurtleUK’s take on who would and wouldn’t consider licensing from RIM.
Samsung: Have said they aren’t interested, and why would they be. They have a very successful line of Android phones and are trading tit for tat with Apple in both sales and the courts. Plus they have confirmed that BB10 is not something they are interested in developing.
HTC: Whilst HTC make excellent phones they haven’t been doing brilliantly against projected targets this year, so much so that the Korean bank is looking to lend HTC money to support their biggest exporting company. But would HTC develop for RIM. In all likelihood, yes. HTC have so far developed for all the main mobile OS platforms and have done a great job with many of them, for HTC to develop a Blackberry device is something that would be a huge boon to both RIM & HTC. With a reputation for making great, solid looking devices that are popular not just in the east, but hugely in the west too, HTC might in fact be an ideal partner for RIM.
LG: LG are really known for the manufacture of budget and feature phones, and also do very well in the east, if LG sought to license BB10 for their budget devices and succeed, then RIM could potentially see quite a jump in global market-share. RIM still have a good reputation amongst many consumers and the opportunity to get a cheaper version of a Blackberry device is something that many would jump at.
RIM: Well duh.
Sony: It’s unlikely that Sony would take part in licensing BB10 for their phones. Having recently bought out Ericsson for a whopping 1.5 Billion Euro’s after 10 years of partnership, Sony will want to concentrate on their Xperia range rather than license a new OS.
Nokia: Again unlikely, however Nokia CEO Stephen Elop did go on record stating that Nokia doe’s have a contingency plan in Android, in the event Windows Phone does not fulfill all that they hope. So if Windows Phone doesn’t work out for Nokia, perhaps they will look to BB10 in addition to or instead of Android.
Apple: Erm ….. No.
Google: Google own and develop Android, it is almost the same idea as Apple licensing BB10, BUT, stranger things have happened. They may license it for patent reasons, they may be able to strike a deal with RIM that incorporates some of Android’s open source initiatives in to BB10, they may even be able to ‘skin’ it with a specialized version of Android. Whilst its unlikely it’s certainly not in the realms of impossibility.
Source: Techradar, TechTurtleUK