Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Blog

RIM Comes Down from the Cloud

On December 27, a firm called Synchronoss Technologies acquired NewBay, a wholly owned subsidiary of Research in Motion Limited. In consideration for the acquisition, Synchronoss paid $55.5 million in cash to RIM, and there was no assumption of cash or debt. The transaction closed at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. Synchronoss provides software-based activation and mobile content management solutions for mobile devices.

NewBay's tenure with RIM was short. In October 2011, RIM acquired NewBay for nearly $100 million. NewBay has an open, white label software platform that powers cloud-based services for storing, sharing, accessing, and organizing digital content across any internet connected device such as smartphones, tablets, PCs, and TVs. Its technology platform allows customers, which included AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, and Verizon, to deliver user content services in areas such as social networking, digital vault, photo and video albums, network address book, and notification and converged messaging services.

At the time of the acquisition of NewBay, it was viewed as a welcome development that would fill-in a missing piece in the RIM portfolio with cloud-based services. Also, it was clear that RIM believed in their tablet product, PlayBook, and the NewBay product would of enhanced capabilities to customers with multiple RIM devices. While the NewBay acquisition expanded the RIM portfolio, it also supported a more competitive market position against companies like Apple. Apple's iCloud product offers a value to owners of multiple devices from Apple by allowing them to sync data across multiple devices. However, the market response to the PlayBook tablet has been tepid and has probably been a significant factor in the sale of NewBay. RIM's move to improve their balance sheet may be the right move for meeting shareholder expectations and given that the value of NewBay is diminished without strong tablet sales. It also puts that much more pressure on the BlackBerry10 to be a hit.

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