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On the RIM of a sale

Research In Motion will likely wait to see how well its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones sell before considering any partnerships or sale of its assets, an analyst said Thursday.

Just how many consumers and businesses will make the move to BlackBerry 10 won't be clear until after this year's back-to-school and holiday seasons, said telecom analyst Troy Crandall of MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

"RIM is basically launching these devices into the dead season," Crandall said, but he did note there will be initial pent-up demand after BB10 is unveiled next Wednesday.

"On the positive side they won't have a lot of competition."

BlackBerry 10 is widely seen as a make-or-break product for Research In Motion (TSX:RIM).

The Waterloo, Ont., smartphone maker has been losing market share to Apple's iPhone and smartphones with the Android operating system.

RIM's board has been reviewing its strategic options and has kept the doors open to everything from a sale of certain assets to various partnerships with other companies.

While there was a report that PC maker Lenovo Group is looking at potential acquisition targets and strategic alliances, including RIM, Crandall said it may be difficult for the Chinese company to get Canadian government approval.

Crandall noted that federal government employees in the United States, Britain and other countries still use RIM smartphones and may have security concerns about a potential Chinese buyer.

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee has said the United States should avoid doing business with Chinese telecom companies Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp. because of concerns over cyber espionage.

Crandall also questioned why Lenovo would have more interest now in RIM considering its share price was much lower several months ago.

Lenovo is said to be on the hunt for a mobile device maker as personal computers face more competition from smaller tablets.

The Canadian Press


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