RIM's Big Solution: Patchwork
Embattled mobile phone maker Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) unveiled the prototype of its upcoming BlackBerry last month, and it is significantly different than previous devices made by the Canadian company. Historically, RIM prided itself on developing technologies in house, but in the new phone, the two biggest features are licensed.
The new phone has two new features that users are eagerly anticipating - a predictive touch-screen keyboard and a camera that takes a series of almost instantaneous images for perfect resolution. However, both of these features have been licensed from European developers. Other licensed features include the user interface and the operating system itself.
Acquiring or licensing technologies is no new fad, as lots of competitors to RIM have done so. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) acquired the technology that powers Siri and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) bought the company that developed the Android operating system.
The fact that the new phone is a patchwork of licensed technologies poses a tough challenge for Rim. Rolling out a new operating system is hard enough, but working with hundreds of employees from companies located in disparate parts of the world only furthers the trouble that RIM could have in its supply chain. This is definitely not going to help the struggling company at all.
RIM is up 2% today at $10.56 but is down 72% over the last 12 months.
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