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Device operating systems

OS Watch: What's RIM Worth?

Analysts are pondering a realistic acquisition price for BlackBerry and other outcomes for the troubled company in this week's operating-system chronicle.

  • Price is not right for RIM: Samsung Corp. said this week it has no interest in acquiring RIM, as rumors would suggest, but it could just be because the price is too high. Speculation had Samsung forking over more than $10 billion to acquire RIM, primarily for its BlackBerry Messenger service. But, Sterne Agee analyst Ray Young says $5 billion to $7 billion may be more like it, as he assigned $2 billion to $3 billion of worth to its patent portfolio, $2 billion to $3 billion for BBM and $1 billion for the BlackBerry OS and push network. If not Samsung, he sees Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and maybe Facebook as potential suitors.

  • Other RIM theories: If RIM doesn't get acquired, what might the beleaguered BlackBerry maker do? Some suggest it could just license its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform to Samsung or, as Avian Research LLC analyst Matthew Thorton proposes, turn over BB 10 to Samsung in exchange for royalties. This would allow it to cut costs and focus on its network and enterprise services, while Samsung pays for the right to be the de facto device manufacturer for BlackBerry, Thorton suggests.

  • Windows Phone may squeeze out Apple: Despite a weak fourth quarter for Windows Phone 7, analysts at IHS iSuppli believe the OS could overtake Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s for second place behind Android by 2015. Much of the growth will be thanks to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s flagship partner Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), IHS says.

  • Apple patents Siri: Apple submitted its first patent application for Siri, its voice-enabled virtual assistant, nearly fourth months after unveiling her to the world. The patent, uncovered by the Patently Apple blog, makes it clear the company wants to take Siri beyond the iPhone to TVs, Macs and vehicles as a way to learn how to use the devices and troubleshoot them. If the patent pans out, get ready for the day when that perky, personal assistant finds her way into every device you own. (See 2011 Top Ten: Mobile OS Moments.)

  • Google stuffs its wallet: Speaking on the Android maker's fourth-quarter earnings call, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) SVP of Advertising Susan Wojkcicki noted that the company sees a big opportunity in its Wallet service -- currently in partnership with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) -- and will continue to seek opportunities for it in the ways "online and offline are linked together." (See Google Getting Ready to Monetize Android, NFC to Come Standard in Sprint LTE Phones and How Secure Is Your Google Wallet?)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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