October 11, 2008

Microsoft and RIM? I Don't Think So.

By Mona Nomura of Pixel Bits (FriendFeed/Twitter)

There's speculation of a possible Microsoft-RIM marriage. It sounds appealing, but highly unlikely. Steven Hodson points out Microsoft has never been in hardware. I agree hardware is a factor but the bigger question is: can a MSFT-RIM team compete in the Mobile Market?

(Pie chart via jkOnTheRun. Thank You!)

In 2007, the mobile world was heavily Symbian dominated at 57.1% of the share. WinMo was 2nd with 11.5%, followed by RIM at 8.9%. Currently, the leader board is Symbian = 57.1%, RIM = 17.4%, and WinMo = 12%. In just one year, RIM shot past Microsoft with a 126.4% growth rate.


If MSFT and RIM merged, they would take 29.6% of the market, and still be only half of Symbian - with two separate platforms. RIM's number one selling point is its push mail and server. As Electronista points out, server integration would be a potential nightmare. With iPhone's increasing momentum, would Microsoft and RIM risk potential loss while the integration takes place? Not to mention, RIM's co-CEOs are heavily involved. I highly doubt they would agree to Microsoft taking over the solid system they built. And even if the merger isn't hostile, would it make sense for Microsoft to obtain two different platforms?

Then, there's the issue of software. Android is Open Source. Linux is Open Source. Max OS X is Open Platform. Symbian-Nokia announced in June they will go Open Source. I'm guessing Microsoft will eventually go Open Source. (Perhaps sooner than we all think, since Gates departed in June.)


If Microsoft joins the Open Source game too late, RIM and WinMo would most likely be left behind. Why would anyone choose devices that aren't as flexible as Open Source / Platform ones? Would it make sense for RIM to join forces with anti-Open Source Microsoft? Especially since we're seeing tremendous growth rates?

I don't think so.

What I do know is this. The mobile market is changing, and this is only the beginning. Exciting times for us geeks! So what's your current phone? Are you waiting for a particular handset?

Read more by Mona Nomura at Pixel Bits.