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BlackBerry offers itself up to six would-be buyers; Cisco looks like the best fit

Matt Hamblen | Oct. 8, 2013
The company has also asked SAP, Google, Intel, Samsung, and LG whether they're interested.

Although Google might have some interest in the BlackBerry network, it can probably rely in cloud networking for its needs, Dulaney said. (Google already bought Motorola for its smartphones and patents.) And he doesn't think SAP would want BlackBerry, since SAP already has a competing Mobile Device Management portfolio.

As for Samsung and LG, Gold suggested they might want access to BBM and BlackBerry patents, and possibly the BES services. But Samsung is already creating secure handset software and services through its Knox program.

IBM would be a more plausible buyer than any of the six mentioned in the Reuters report, Dulaney said, because IBM could run BES and other portions of BlackBerry as services for larger customers — some of whom need to keep BlackBerry services going since they still have a large installed base of BlackBerry users.

Dulaney recently urged businesses to consider dropping the BlackBerry platform within six months, citing the company's expected Q3 loss of $1 billion and planned layoffs of 4,500.

IBM could also add BBM to its SameTime and Connections social networks, a fairly convenient fit, as IBM already supports BlackBerry devices, Gold added.

There are other possible buyers for portions of BlackBerry. Oracle might want to acquire BlackBerry networks and services to beef up its mobile offerings, Gold said, noting that BlackBerry used Java software extensively in the past and Oracle owns Java patents.

Even Microsoft could use BBM and network services to merge into its cloud offerings, Gold said. "There's no shortage of possible speculation on who would benefit from a dissecting of BlackBerry assets," Gold said.

BlackBerry said in a statement Monday that the special committee looking at its restructuring is "conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives" and would not comment further until it has approved a specific transaction.

BlackBerry also wouldn't comment on reports that it still has off-book charges of nearly $3 billion in commitments to vendors for Q10 and Z10 series devices.

All six companies mentioned in the Reuters report declined comment on any plans for BlackBerry.


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