IBM has made an "informal approach" to BlackBerry maker Research in Motion’s to discuss the possibility of acquiring its enterprise services division, according to a report from news agency Bloomberg.
Citing "two people familiar with the situation", Bloomberg claims IBM is only interested in acquiring RIM’s back-end network infrastructure service division, not the device business. RIM is likely to hold off making a decision until the release of smartphones running the new version of its operating system, Blackberry 10, next year, it added.
Following a disastrous year of plummeting sales and the disappointing reception of its Playbook tablet devices, RIM has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and RBC Capital Markets to study its strategic options. CEO Thorsten Heins has said that he would prefer to find a partner or to license Blackberry OS, but that selling part or all of the business might be considered.
RIM announced in June that it would be cutting 5,000 jobs – a third of its workforce — as the firm reported a $518m (£334m) net loss in the second quarter of 2012. It also delayed the launch of Blackberry 10, which it hopes will reverse the fortunes of the company.
"We were delayed to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement and we saw a significant slowing down in our enterprise subscriber growth rate as a result," Heims said on a conference call with an analyst in March. "I am committed with my team to reclaiming lost market share in this space."
In May, IBM announced the launch of Mobile Foundation, a suite of tools and services designed to help customers manage and exploit mobile technology. This includes mobile devicement management, as well as mobile application development and integration.
At the time, IBM predicted that the mobile computing market will grow from £22 billion this year to reach $36 billion by 2012. Its latest survey of CIOs found that three quarters are pursuing a mobile strategy to improve employee productivity.