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Microsoft’s Ballmer eyes RIM acquisition

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Report claims Microsoft keen on buying BlackBerry maker; Ballmer to host press conference at Mobile World Congress.

Microsoft, which is in danger of becoming an also-ran in the smartphone market, could choose the ‘if you can’t beat them, buy them’ option, following a report claiming it is eyeing an acquisition of RIM.

All Things Digital reported this week that multiple sources at Microsoft have said their outspoken CEO Steve Ballmer has repeatedly expressed interest in buying the BlackBerry maker.

The report points out that RIM have a market capitalization of around $38 billion. Microsoft meanwhile is valued at $246 billion, with a war chest somewhere in the region of $40 billion.

U.S. smartphone maker Palm is valued at a more modest $1.74 billion, and has also been named as potential buy-out candidate. However, Ballmer has reportedly denied having any interest in snapping up the Pre maker.

By way of comparison, mobile handset giant Nokia has a market cap of $50 billion.

The rumor mill kicked up a gear following Wednesday’s announcement that Ballmer is to personally host Microsoft’s press conference during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

Ballmer is expected to detail the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile platform, Windows Mobile 7, as the software giant looks to claw back smartphone market share from the likes of RIM, Apple and Nokia.

In related news, handset chip maker MediaTek announced on Tuesday that it has partnered with Microsoft to provide multimedia smartphone chips for Windows Mobile devices designed for emerging markets.

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