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Will Microsoft or Nokia Buy Out BlackBerry?

Rocco Pendola

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- TheStreet's Anton Wahlman produced pure financial media gold last week -- BlackBerry: The End Game -- clearly laying out the case for a takeout of the artist formerly known as RIM.

It's one of those articles that does an excellent job at the art of persuasion.

But I don't see BlackBerry getting bought out.

First, I'm not sure the Canadian government would allow a foreign entity to execute a takeover.

It's not quite to the level of the Toronto Maple Leafs relocating to Seattle or something, but it would be on par with the Ottawa Senators blowing the nation's capital for foreign soil. Even if a Microsoft , Nokia or Amazon.com agreed to keep headquarters in Waterloo, it still wouldn't fly. This is a matter of national pride -- of symbolism as much as economics, especially if BlackBerry successfully resurges.


Second, like many others, at the same time as he touts BlackBerry's strengths - subscriber base, intellectual property, secure enterprise software and the QNX platform powering auto entertainment -- he disregards them. In other words, Wahlman situates these positives at BlackBerry as relevant only insofar as they make the company an attractive takeover target. I come at it from another direction; for these reasons, BlackBerry can not only exist, but thrive independently.

That said, as TheStreet's Jim Cramer noted the other day with Deb Borchardt, Wahlman is no slouch. I take what he says seriously, fully realizing that he does not "idly" assert that the BlackBerry story ends in a sale. So, instead of saying Wahlman's crazy -- because he's not -- I choose to see the irony -- and potential disastrous implications -- in the notion of Microsoft or Nokia, in particular, making the move.


Within this context, the folks who think BlackBerry gets sold miss something else. Why would the BlackBerry board, before the dust settles on 2013 at least, even consider a sale to two companies they can be better than and might, in some respects, already be better than?

As I have riffed in recent weeks, BlackBerry doesn't need to look out for No. 1 Google or worry about stepping in No. 2 Apple it must focus on being a strong No. 3. And there's no question about it, as I explain in the above-linked articles, it's well on its way to firing another nail into Windows Phone's coffin.

Even more ironic, the Microsoft-Nokia "partnership" whimpers along. So because Microsoft and, to a lesser extent, Nokia have plenty of cash we just expect one of them to make another shot-in-the-dark move to salvage their individual and collective ineptitude?

If something of the sort happens, I will pat Wahlman on the back, but I will not feel all that great about the health of the mobile hardware/OS sector outside of Apple, Google and Samsung's dominance.


Put another way -- an independent BlackBerry is good for Canada, good for consumers, good for the space and good for BlackBerry. The world doesn't need Microsoft or Nokia running something else into the ground.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.




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