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IBM sniffs RIM, winks at BlackBerry big biz unit

Enterprise services interests Big Blue, mobes not so much

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IBM is reportedly interested in snapping up the enterprise services division of troubled BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion.

Well-placed sources whispered to Bloomberg that Big Blue could help Canadian mobile biz RIM by taking the unit off its hands, and has already made an informal approach about it.

The enterprise services division operates a network of secure servers to handle email and messages to and from BlackBerry devices. So far it seems this unit is the only bit of RIM folks may be interested in snaffling, other than the company's patent war chest.

The division that actually makes its phones is probably the least popular, but RIM is willing to hold out until its BlackBerry 10 phones finally come out next year before making any decisions on selling that part of it off, one of the contacts said.

RIM has tried a number of things to try to get its mojo back, but continued delays to BlackBerry 10 and other setbacks have seen the firm's star fall and fall.

Earlier this summer, CEO Thorsten Heins said RIM had hired JPMorgan Chase and RBC Capital Markets to look at its "strategic options", which is often business-speak for selling off some or all of a company.

RIM's shares have been falling fairly steadily since 2008, a year after Apple iPhones first hit the stands, and have lost 46 per cent so far this year.

An IBM spokesperson declined to comment on rumour and speculation. RIM had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication. ®

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