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?
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