RIM to Sell Its Hardware Division to Lenovo Bloomberg

Both companies reportedly seek new strategic deals to boost presence on the market

While gearing up for the launch of its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion is also exploring new options aimed at expanding the market share of its platform, such as licensing it to other handset vendors.

RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins said that in a recent interview with German newspaper Die Welt, when it also hinted at the possible transition to a software-only company.

Apparently, the company might consider selling its hardware business to another vendor, so as to ensure that it can focus on the development of the BlackBerry platform.

One possible candidate for the deal is now said to be Lenovo, which has recently confirmed interest in a possible alliance with RIM, aimed at providing it with more opportunities on the mobile phone market.

“We are looking at all opportunities -- RIM and many others,” Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming said earlier this week, Bloomberg reports. “We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.”

RIM’s BlackBerry operating system has lost a lot of ground recently in front of rivals such as Google’s Android OS and Apple’s iOS, but the company has already started to review its position on the market and to consider new deals to return to profitability.

The upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform version, however, should help it gain some more traction among end-users, courtesy of a new UI, brand new features, and support for better hardware.

At the same time, Lenovo is considering expanding its mobile business, Bloomberg notes, adding that the company is currently seeing increased competition on the tablet market, which affects its growth.

For the time being, however, RIM wouldn’t confirm any plans on selling its hardware division, though this does not exclude possible discussions with Lenovo on the matter.

However, if such a deal is in the works, it will most probably be finalized and made official after the arrival of BlackBerry 10 devices, which are currently rumored to hit shelves starting with early February in Canada.

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