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Five reasons why the time is now for Samsung, BlackBerry to merge

Samsung and BlackBerry may not be an item yet, but there are a lot of reasons why the case for a merger is stronger than ever.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Samsung has reportedly pondered buying BlackBerry, which has denied merger talks with the Korean consumer electronics company. Whether talks surface or not, the case for Samsung buying BlackBerry has never been stronger.

Note that Wednesday's lift-off in BlackBerry shares over a potential now denied Samsung takeover played like a rerun from a few years ago. Samsung was reportedly pondering BlackBerry before. A Samsung-BlackBerry combination made some sense back in 2012, but the case has only grown stronger.

Also: Buying enterprise mobility management: How important is independence? | BlackBerry Classic: Old-school keyboard cool or needless nostalgia? CNET: BlackBerry Classic Review

Here's a look at five reasons why Samsung should buy BlackBerry.

  1. John Chen. For an alleged $7.5 billion, Samsung would be paying BlackBerry a lot for a glorified acquihire situation, but Chen could be worth it. Chen has stabilized BlackBerry, honed the strategy and has a lot of enterprise clout. He still has to figure out how to grow BlackBerry, but overall has done well. Meanwhile, Samsung's leadership has been in flux---especially in its mobile unit and product design. Chen could be a front man in multiple areas of Samsung. Enterprise or mobile devices---take your pick.

  2. BES 12 and Samsung's enterprise unit. Samsung has a solid enterprise unit and is aligning partners to offset the IBM-Apple tandem in corporations. Samsung for now is already the de facto corporate Android choice, but that may not last forever. Samsung needs to be able to manage multiple devices and BlackBerry has moved in that direction with BlackBerry Enterprise Server. A Samsung-BlackBerry combination would be able to cater to the enterprise well and offer more of a soup-to-nuts mobility lineup. Just BlackBerry's security knowhow alone could be worth a purchase. See: Samsung fires shots at Apple-IBM with across-the-board enterprise device support

  3. QNX. Remember Samsung's talk at CES 2015? You remember the one about how all of Samsung's devices will be tied to the Internet in a few years. Samsung is all about the Internet of things. What Samsung lacks is the glue to put all the pieces together. Enter QNX. BlackBerry's Chen sees QNX as an Internet of things play and the operating system is already embedded in everything from medical devices to cars. QNX is legit. Samsung could use that platform to tie its own hardware together as well as enter new markets such as in-car entertainment.

  4. Operating systems Samsung would actually own. QNX is arguably the software crown jewel of BlackBerry. Toss in BlackBerry 10 and Samsung would have a solid mobile OS to build on. Keep in mind that Samsung is trying to grow Tizen, but largely relies on Android. However, Samsung layers so much of its own software on top of Android that it could effectively take the same approach with any OS---including BlackBerry 10. See: Samsung releases first Tizen smartphone in India | Samsung's challenge: Build software, platforms to offset hardware sales volatility

  5. An answer to China. Samsung's biggest threat isn't Apple. It's Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi using Android to thump Samsung in emerging markets. Samsung wants and needs to diversify from Android to avoid a profit margin bloodbath. What would Samsung do to keep the Chinese at bay? Perhaps buy BlackBerry. At the very least, a BlackBerry purchase may thwart an encroachment from Lenovo, which bought Motorola from Google and is gaining smartphone share in emerging markets.
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