$50 Buyout in Motion?

Is Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) a BlackBerry picker?

At least one major analyst seems to think so, given the freefalling share price of BlackBerry parent Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) and Microsoft's growing presence in mobile-operating-system software.

"I'm fairly certain they have a standing offer to buy them at $50 (a share)," Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek is quoted in a Reuters article.

The rub, of course, is that things aren't that bad for RIM. Not yet, anyway. RIM shares were trading as high as $148.13 back in June. The stock has crashed to as low as $50.72 this week, but RIM has no reason to go into fire-sale mode.

Yes, there are real threats to its smartphone dominance. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) has been surprisingly aggressive in marking down its iPhone. Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android-powered debut hits the market this month, and pre-orders have sold briskly. Handset giant Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) isn't going to take the smartphone migration lying down. Heck, even Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) wants some skin in this game.

However, RIM is doing perfectly fine on its own, plummeting share price notwithstanding. Net income shot up 72% in its latest quarter, with RIM watching over roughly 19 million subscribers. As a boardroom staple, BlackBerry's fate is tied closely to the corporate economy, but it's clearly a keeper.

The stock would have to fall well below $50 -- and with some serious cracks in its fundamentals -- for RIM to even think of reaching out for Mr. Softy's lifeboat.

And no offense to Misek, but this deal doesn't necessarily sound like a good deal for Microsoft, either. Its Windows Mobile platform is humming along nicely. If Microsoft buys out a smartphone maker like RIM, won't it hurt its chances of attracting rival smartphone makers to embrace Windows Mobile?

I just don't see this happening, though it's always entertaining to see others spending Microsoft's money after it has clearly indicated that it wants to spend it on itself.

Other smart smartphone connections:

Nokia and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has never gone to a U-pick berry farm, though he's always wanted to pull over when he sees one in season. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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