BlackBerry maker Research in Motion found itself in an even deeper hole this week after delaying the launch of BlackBerry 10, cutting  jobs and reporting a significant quarterly loss. And now comes news that Microsoft is circling the company.

A report by Reuters this morning, quoting three unnamed sources, says the Redmond company has approached RIM about the possibility of a partnership, hoping to get the Canadian company to adopt Microsoft’s mobile technology in much the same way that Nokia has embraced Windows Phone.

The key excerpt from the story …

One of these options is for RIM to abandon its own operating system and adopt Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had approached RIM in recent months, looking to strike a partnership similar to the one the software giant has with Nokia Oyj, the sources said. Under that partnership, Nokia will use Microsoft’s latest Windows operating system on its smartphones.

In such a scenario, RIM could also look for Microsoft to buy a stake in the company and fund marketing and other expenses, the sources said. However, this option is not attractive to RIM because it would mean the end of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company’s technology independence, they said.

So far, RIM’s board is staying the course, but it’s not clear how long it can hold out.

Here’s the other question: Would this really be a good move for Microsoft? Nokia and BlackBerry have both been struggling in the smartphone market. Despite BlackBerry’s strong legacy, Microsoft wouldn’t exactly tying its fortunes to a market leader if it went this direction.

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  • Guest

    We believe that a BlackBerry Windows Phone 8 collaboration could have positive implications for the government market. Most global governments standardize on BlackBerry and run a primarily Windows environment so moving “all in” to Microsoft is a natural transition. We would like to see Microsoft continue to extend its dominance in the enterprise market (small and large) while continuing to effect gains in the consumer market.

  • Bob

    Agreed. It’s not clear that RIM can continue on its own. It’s even less clear how they can do so while continuing to fund development/innovation in their own OS and attract/build out an ecosystem capable of competing against the dominant ones enjoyed by Android and Apple (it’s not even clear how MS can do that now that they’re so far behind). If RIM is going to try and continue, they need to align with someone: Android, MS, Facebook, Amazon.
    Since MS and RIM have a very long and extensive history of partnership, it’s not surprising that they would be talking together. And their back-end infrastructure (and possibly patents) would be of interest to MS even if RIM is destined to fail. Plus when it comes to using shareholder’s money to write big checks for dubious payback, Ballmer is unrivaled.

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