Can Samsung Save Research In Motion From Itself?

When you see a loved one who seems determined to hurt himself and is recklessly ruining his future, it's time for an intervention. Sometimes, outside help can be all it takes to turn the corner.

While I would hardly consider Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) a loved one, its penchant for self-deprecation and lack of objective perspective make it an ideal candidate for A&E's award-winning reality show Intervention. This was particularly evident when the flailing BlackBerry maker opted to name a new CEO from within instead of seeking outside assistance.

It looks as if help may come from the other side of the world. The latest rumors suggest that South Korean electronics conglomerate Samsung may be thinking about making a minority investment in RIM as well as partnering with the Canadian company to create phones running RIM's new (delayed) upcoming operating system, BB10.

This news comes from BGC Partners analyst Collin Gillis, who has met with Samsung recently and says Sammy is a bit nervous over Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) upcoming acquisition of Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) and how that bodes for Android OEMs like itself. Moto had always been one of Big G's faves, even before the announced acquisition, and its partners might not be buying Google's assurances that it will treat its soon-to-be subsidiary equally.

Samsung produces some of the highest-quality hardware in the smartphone market, but it needs an operating system to give its devices life. It has its own proprietary Bada OS as well as some Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows Phone devices, but most of its stable is of the Android flavor. Sammy has just three Windows Phone models, compared with 53 Android handsets. Neither Bada nor WP has much market share, either, with Gartner's fourth-quarter figures showing 2.1% and 1.9%, respectively.

Adding RIM's OS, which grabbed an 8.8% share, to its mix could help Sammy diversify its OS base while improving the hardware quality of BlackBerry devices. This potential partnership would help Research In Motion much more than it would help Samsung.

A hookup between these two has been hinted at recently as a potential first step for a RIM turnaround. There's little sense in having Samsung take a minority stake, but there's more of a case for it to make BB10 phones.

But I still think RIM is doomed.

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Fool contributor Evan Niu holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft and Google and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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