BlackBerry maker RIM to separate its handset business from messaging network

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Unable to survive amidst competition from Apple iPhones and Google’s Android smartphones, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is planning to split its business in two, separating its struggling handset manufacturing business from its messaging network.

The Sunday Times reports that RIM, which last month hired JP Morgan and RBC Capital to look at its strategic options, could split its handset division into a separate listed company or sell it. The potential buyers of the business include Amazon and Facebook, sources reveal. Not just the handset division, RIM’s messaging network could also be sold, or extended to rivals such as Apple and Google to generate income.

RIM might also consider an alternative option of keeping the company intact, and selling a stake to a larger technology firm such as Microsoft, the newspaper added.

The company has not commented on the specifics of the report, but an RIM spokesperson told the technology website CNET, “RIM has hired advisers to help the company examine ways to leverage the BlackBerry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities, and strategic business model alternatives. We believe the best way to drive value for our stakeholders is to execute on our plan to turn the company around.’ This remains true.”

Once a popular smartphone makes, RIM has lost its popularity to other Google and Apple, which presently dominated the smartphone market. Fourth-quarter reports of RIM show a company loss of $125 million and a 25 percent drop in revenue. Splitting and selling its business may help the company better deal with the situation.

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