RIM buys software maker NewBay for $100M

Acquisition of Irish company, which provides photo, video and social network tools for smartphones and computers, will help boost Canadian phonemaker's efforts to catch up with rival offerings, according to reports.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Research In Motion (RIM) has an agreement in place to buy Irish mobile software maker NewBay as it bids to build up its content offerings for consumers as it plays catch up to rivals' services, reports stated.

Reuters reported last Friday that the BlackBerry device maker has agreed on a US$100 million deal with NewBay, although neither company have disclosed terms of the deal. It also stated that the deal has yet to close.

In a same-day report by the Irish Times, NewBay staff were informed of the acquisition by RIM last Thursday and it is understood that the Canadian company plans to keep the Irish company's software development center in Dublin, which employs about 200 staff.

NewBay, a provider of photo, video and social network tools for smartphones and computers, has more than 80 million subscribers for its "white-label" content services through deals with network operators including Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, AT&T and Verizon.

The Irish company stores media on its own servers and delivers it to any Internet-connected device, including mobile phones, personal computers, tablets and televisions, Reuters stated.

Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, told Reuters that RIM will likely use NewBay's Web-based photo and video albums, address books, calendars and other services as a base on which it will build up its content offerings.

"RIM is coming later to market than competitive offerings," he said, pointing to Apple's iCloud and Amazon's Cloud Drive as examples of rival services.

"It's not known yet whether RIM's offering will match or lag the content and user experience of competitors," noted Abramsky.

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