Various suitors have been rumoured recently for troubled Canadian smartphone vendor Research in Motion, and most have quickly stepped forward to deny any interest. There may be something to the latest rumoured tire-kicker though — IBM Corp. — reports Bloomberg News:

IBM made an informal approach about possibly acquiring the division, which operates a network of secure servers used to support RIM’s BlackBerry devices, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. 

(Click here to read: IBM eyeing RIM’s enterprise services unit: sources)

No one seems to have much interest in the part of RIM that makes the BlackBerry smartphone, and it’s possible that division refocused could make a turn-around. The enterprise services unit does have real and immediate value though, and would be a good fit for a company like IBM with its strong focus in enterprise services. 

The question though is if BlackBerry loses one of its key remaining diferentiators — its strength in enterprise services — will the standalone smartphone have any chance for a comeback? Perhaps it’s less of an advantage in a bring-your-own-device world anyway. Moreover, one wonders if investors will allow RIM to invest the proceeds of a sale into a BlackBerry, or insist on a pay-out and wind-down of the company?

It appears we’ll have to wait until next year and BlackBerry 10 to find out.

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