Unnamed sources “close” to BlackBerry maker Research in Motion dismissed as a “silly fantasy” a story by The Sunday Times of London claiming that the company was considering splitting its hardware and network services groups in to separate businesses.
The Times report, behind a pay-wall, was cited in numerous mainstream news stories, such as this account in the Toronto Sun, and in blogs covering both technology and investing. The newspaper didn’t identify the sources for its assertion that RIM was thinking of separating the two businesses or selling a stake in the company. It also claimed that Amazon and Facebook as potential buyers.
But the Toronto-based The Globe and Mail talked with sources who, it said, were “close” to RIM, and all of them dismissed the rumor. One called it a “silly fantasy,” another “one of the most ridiculous ideas I have heard in a while,” according to this report.
And now RIM apparently has issued a statement, though not posted on its website, also denying the rumor. MobileSyrup’s Ian Hardy got this response from RIM: “RIM has hired advisers to help the Company examine ways to leverage the BlackBerry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic business model alternatives. As Thorsten [RIM CEO Thorsten Heins] said on the Company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, ‘We believe the best way to drive value for our stakeholders is to execute on our plan to turn the company around.’ This remains true.”
RIM sales have plunged over the past two quarters and continue to do so. The company will be releasing a new operating system, now called BlackBerry 10, along with the first smartphones to run it later this year, perhaps as early as this fall. The new OS has received good grades from developers and users.