If no-one will save RIM, perhaps Canada should

Summary:Takeover this, takeover that. If the BlackBerry maker is unsellable, or a loose cannon in the current market, why shouldn't Canada step in?

Research in Motion is seriously struggling. As it puts on a brave face to the public by releasing its new BlackBerry smartphones into the wild, behind the scenes, there are fires burning in the offices, gang-warfare between floors and executives hurling themselves out of windows.

OK, so I paint a colourful, albeit fictional picture. But nevertheless Research in Motion is not looking healthy.

With the Motoroogle deal under way -- the handset maker Motorola Mobility, is gobbled up by Google -- the industry is turning its head towards RIM with bated breath -- hoping it will survive the cold winter.

Shares at RIM have plummeted this year; rescued by a 10 percent rise since the Motoroogle deal, in anticipation it could be bought out.

After a long conversation with senior technology editor, Jason Perlow, as though we were conspiring stuffing a pillow over the face of the BlackBerry giant, we came to some interesting conclusions.

Perlow strongly believes that RIM cannot recover its losses on its own. It needs help. I questioned whether Google or even Amazon -- in my sheer naivety -- could buy out RIM.

Google suddenly has a cashflow problem in that, all in all, it cannot afford RIM. Besides, what would it do with it? Amazon has its own tablet coming out soon, along with the Kindle it needs to support. But Amazon isn't worried about "getting dinged on patents", as Perlow eloquently put it.

If anything, Amazon should focus its efforts on the cloud -- only yesterday announcing provisions for the U.S. government -- for supplying goods and content to RIM's platforms.

And then comes Microsoft. The Redmond-based company and Ontario-based company have been secretly seeing each other for some time.

RIM and Microsoft have been holding hands behind the scenes, shying away from hotter, more attractive models such as Google and Facebook.

By bringing together BlackBerry enterprise and encrypted email software to Microsoft's online services, this partners the two companies in a deep, meaningful evening of heavy petting.

Bringing together, dare I say it, Windows Phone 7 to the BlackBerry handset would force RIM to drop BlackBerry OS 7 and its QNX venture, into an operating system not strictly designed for the handset. It would mean further modifications to Windows Phone 7 to even get it to work on the vastly different BlackBerry handset range.

Together, whilst seemingly looking like a partnership, would be weighed on Microsoft's part -- supporting the BlackBerry maker through its troubling times. Besides which, Mary Jo Foley says "nah" to the idea -- and I trust her with my life.

As Perlow put it nicely: "RIM is not a clean purchase for anyone".

That is, with the exception, of nationalising it to become the property of the Canadian government.

Though the brand value of the BlackBerry may not be enough, and considering RIM's net income was down by around $130 million last quarter, based on revenue in the same quarter the year before, the Canadian government could still present RIM as a vital boost to its citizen takings.

It would mean, by nationalising RIM, that the Canadian taxpayer would ultimately have to pay for the buy-out.

But it's not the first time a government has taken over a failing company -- or bank, for that matter.

Pointing you in the direction of Northern Rock in the United Kingdom -- the BBC business editor Robert Peston, often cited as the man who brought down the bank -- is safely in the hands of the British government.

Having said that, the Canadian economy needs RIM to keep going. It employs tens of thousands of employees in Canada alone, and pays a shedload of tax that Canada would struggle to find elsewhere.

Technologically, the Canadians have already roared upheaval over the United States' Patriot Act, which can reach not only to cloud-stored data in Canada, but Europe and further afield, also.

But RIM already has a massive datacenter in Canada, allowing the Canadian government to outsource email operations to a datacenter on its own soil -- well out of the reach of the American's.

All I ask, dear Canada -- a fellow commonwealth country to my British home -- is that you don't sit idly by as you did with Nortel and allow the company to be sold off.

What goes down, must come up. Or, something to that effect. Canada needs to keep RIM -- economically, for its brand portfolio, or to simply keep it out of American hands -- and it has to be done sooner rather than later.

Topics: BlackBerry, Mobility, Security

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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