Tough markets have a way of forcing troubled companies into bad decisions. Research In Motion (NYSE:BB) is about to make a whopper.

You wouldn't know it from the stock action. The BlackBerry maker's shares soared more than 10% in the first day of trading after CEO Thorsten Heins told German newspaper Die Welt that he and his team are exploring "strategic options" that include selling in-house hardware production or licensing the BlackBerry software to third parties.

Sharp declines in RIM's operating margin probably justify cost-cutting and at least some amount of hardware outsourcing. But licensing? History hasn't been kind to underdogs who chose to license their way to market share gains. Just ask Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) what cloning did to the Mac in the years before Steve Jobs returned to the company.

Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova recounts those days and the lessons they hold for investors in the video below. Please watch, and then leave a comment to let us know what you think about Heins' proposed strategy.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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