Microsoft May Find It Impossible Not To Buy RIM

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RIM’s stock has gone down so much that an acquirer could buy them for a 50 per cent premium and still pay the lowest multiple in the industry, Bloomberg notes.

That may make it very hard for Microsoft to resist swooping in.

Microsoft desperately needs more marketshare for Windows Phone 7. RIM desperately needs a new, good software platform, and Windows is pretty well critically-received. As the Skype deal has shown, Microsoft isn’t afraid to uge its ginormous piles of cash to pay top dollar for strategic assets. Microsoft and RIM are complementary, given their strongholds in corporate America, particularly email software. RIM and Nokia, Microsoft’s biggest phone partner, are complementary, with RIM strongest in the US and Nokia strongest in the rest of the world (although they are increasingly competing for growth in the emerging markets). 

The reasons not to do the deal, meanwhile:

  • The biggest reason is that it might alienate Microsoft’s biggest phone partner, Nokia. Right now, Nokia is sure that it’s Microsoft number-one phone partner. If Microsoft buys RIM, that would no longer be true. 
  • RIM’s founders would probably resist and it might turn into a MicroHoo-style fiasco. 
  • Microsoft is a software company, not a hardware company. It needs to focus on what it’s good at. 

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