Explaining Southern California's economy

RIM, R.I.P.? (Part II)

The International Consumer Electronics Show Highlights Latest Gadgets

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A Blackberry Bold is displayed at the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 8, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Business Insider is engaged in plenty of speculation about struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion today, after the company disappointed Wall Street with its fiscal fourth quarter results yesterday. Part of that speculation involved interpreting RIM's CEO's comments about "strategic opportunities" as "let's look for someone to buy us." At the New York Times, Michael J. De La Merced joins that chorus.

Here's a Jay Yarow at BI, on why no one in his right mind would want to buy RIM (it's in Q&A form):

...Is anyone a good fit for RIM?

Honestly, we don't think so. This is a company that is dying and in a state of transition. It runs on its own platform. Most hardware makers have picked their partners for software. Transitioning to RIM's software doesn't make sense unless RIM's next software is awesome. In which case, another hardware maker like Dell or LG could buy RIM and use BlackBerry 10.

But, that's sort of silly for RIM, right? They wouldn't want to sell if the software is good.

Exactly. What's the point? RIM could turn itself around without help.

But that's pretty unlikely, right?

Yep.

So that's it for RIM? Make great software or die?

Pretty much. It's possible someone wild card jumps in. Maybe a carrier takes a chance on RIM if it gets cheap enough, or maybe a Chinese phone maker buys the company to get a nice entry into North America, or maybe a PE firm looks at RIM's still impressive cash flow and decides to take the company out and try to fix it.

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Smartphones: Can they catch on in the developing world?

Jerome Favre/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A member of the media examines the Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Nexus smartphone, running Google Inc.'s Ice Cream Sandwich Android operating, system in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011. Samsung will begin selling the first mobile phone run on Google's new operating system next month, counting on facial-recognition security to help challenge Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

At Slate, Matt Yglesias rolls out a chart that shows the astonishing adoption rates of both Apple's iOS and Google's Android. So yes, both mobile operating systems have done more than caught on — they've taken over the world.

The developed world, that is. And this is where I think Yglesias overreaches:

In terms of adoption rates, iOS blew the previous entrants out of the water and now Android is setting a new even more amazing record-breaking pace. This is going to be an especially important development in relatively poor countries while mobile connectivity is generally better than wireline, so the availability of relatively cheap relatively powerful mobile devices is a total gamechanger. 

He's making the healthy assumption that these operating systems are going to be adopted in the developing world. iOS runs on only Apple devices — and Apple devices are very expensive, even by developed-world standards. 

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