Samsung denies interest in RIM, licensing BlackBerry 10

Samsung Electronics threw cold water on the notion that it is interested in buying Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) or licensing its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.

"Samsung Electronics has not considered the acquisition of Research In Motion or licensing BB10," the company said in a statement to several media outlets. This is not the first time speculation has swirled around Samsung as a potential suitor for RIM. However, the latest round of rumors seems to have been sparked by a research note earlier this week from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek.

"Given recent management comments in the press, it now appears that RIM is realizing what Wall Street has been saying for some time: they are a subscale manufacturer and desperately need a partner," Misek wrote. "We believe RIM is attempting to revive discussions with Samsung regarding a BB10 licensing deal." The speculation sent RIM's shares up as much as 10 percent yesterday, and the shares were trading up again this morning.

Last week RIM CEO Thorsten Heins effectively admitted that the company cannot effectively compete against larger mobile device manufacturers and that RIM is considering a move to license its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system to those same rivals. Heins has held out licensing the platform for months as one of the strategic options RIM is considering as it moves toward the platform's launch, now expected in the first quarter of 2013.

"We don't have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year," Heins told The Telegraph. "We have to differentiate and have a focused platform. To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than I can do it. There's different options we could do that we're currently investigating."

Heins stated RIM is still considering its options, adding "it's way too early to get into any details." However, he said "you could think about us building a reference system, and then basically licensing that reference design, have others build the hardware around it--either it's a BlackBerry or it's something else being built on the BlackBerry platform ... We have to also model this from a finance perspective ... Either we do it ourselves or we do it with a partner. But we will not abandon the subscriber base."

Heins said in July at RIM's annual investor meeting that the company will launch four BlackBerry 10 smartphones, two high-end models and two mid-range models, early next year.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this AllThingsD article

Related Articles:
RIM mulls licensing BlackBerry 10 to rival device makers
RIM to release four BlackBerry 10 smartphones in early 2013
Report: RIM CEO's optimistic comments may spark lawsuits
RIM delays BlackBerry 10 until Q1 2013
BlackBerry PlayBook OS update improves Android app compatibility
RIM CEO: No BlackBerry 10 upgrade for existing phones