No, I’m not talking about the actual fruit, Mr. Literal. I’m talking about the must-have business accouterment of the late 90s and early 2000s, the Blackberry Phone. For those too young to recall, there was a period when smartphones didn’t exist. People could only use their phones to talk, text and make a little dark line go around the screen and eat single pixels to grow larger. Stop running around in a panic and dry heaving there is no way we are going back to that. So in this dark, primitive time a company called Blackberry released a phone that also functioned as a daily planner and could access emails. Its was ugly, bulky and ungainly, but every business person worth his/her two cents had one of these bad boys. The reason being it allowed these always on-the-go professionals to do their oh-so-important business-ing everywhere. Something that’s easy to take for granted in a time where your mobile device can do everything your PC at home does. As the smartphone market grew, and with added competition Blackberry was unable to keep up and keep current.
Samsung, on the other hand, is the monolithic corporation that we all know and some love, that even after being sued by Apple for millions still managed to stay afloat and become the largest maker of handsets in the world. Samsung has been working with Blackberry for years, but recently a Reuters report mentioned that Samsung might want to acquire the company.
This is contested though, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s speculated that Samsung might have wanted the acquisition to go unnoticed initially, and once finalized to share it with the general public. Secondly, both Blackberry CEO and Samsung’s co-chief executive denied that there was a merger in the works, but instead commented that they were in talks for a further continuation of the two companies already established relationship.
Samsung is actually more interested in broadening the range of the companies’ collaboration, including the use of Blackberry technology in Samsung devices. Also, Samsung has invested a substantial amount of resources and funds developing a business market targeted security platform called Knox. Within the terms of the two companies’ cooperation, they will be able to sell each other’s mobile security applications.
Some analysts were speculating that perhaps Samsung was vying for Blackberry’s patent portfolio, that enumerates to about 44.000 pending patents at the moment. Samsung dejected these speculations by pointing out their own 110.000 pending patent portfolio.
OK, allow me examine this for a moment. Why would one of the top two smart-device makers in the world be interested in a company that just last year reported a loss of 5.9 billion, and a year before that restricted their product line from 6 options to 4, and laid off 40% of its operating staff? Samsung usually invests and acquires healthy companies with promising software or hardware applications. One of its last acquisitions was the $200 million purchase of SmartThings, a company that creates software to automate your home. The partnership makes sense for both parties, as Samsung sells two TVs and 12-13 mobile devices per second. It also manufactures a wide variety of other household electronics and appliances.
On the other hand, Blackberry might be holding an ace up their sleeve that Samsung is aware of and would very much like to get their hands on. We’ll just have to sit on the sidelines and see.