Industry insiders tend to be either really warm or really cold on Research In Motion's pending BlackBerry 10 operating system and the company's potential for a comeback. Put Ovum's Jan Dawson in the latter's camp.
Calling BB10 "no salvation for RIM," Dawson said RIM finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“RIM continues to face the twin demons of consumer-driven buying power and a chronic inability to appeal to mature market consumers," Dawson wrote in a note on Monday. "There is nothing in what we’ve seen so far of BB10 that suggests it will conquer the second of these demons, and the first is utterly out of RIM’s control. We don’t expect a speedy exit from the market; with no debt, 80 million subscribers and profitability in the black in at least some recent quarters, the company can continue in this vein for years. But its glory days are past, and it is only a matter of time before it reaches a natural end."
So, with RIM's stock price more than double its value just four months ago, fueled by positive buzz surrounding BB10, might the time soon be right to sell the company? Rumors are flying that Chinese PC maker Lenovo might be well positioned to buy the Canada-based smartphone manufacturing giant. An interesting idea, Yankee Group research VP Wally Swain says, but unlikely.
“This deal might make sense strategically in a PowerPoint presentation from an expensive consulting firm or an investment bank, but from a practical viewpoint, governments in the United States and probably Canada as well will block it," Swain noted, commenting on a TG Daily article. "There is a chance that Canada’s nostalgia for its lost telecom R&D leadership will cause the government to block the deal. More likely, it will be blocked by the U.S. government or U.S. government pressure on the Canadian government because Lenovo is a Chinese company."
With concerns about the potential for espionage, government officials in some Western nations – the U.S. in particular – have been wary about possible sales of tech companies to Chinese-owned operations.
Decisions on the future of the business will no doubt hinge on how well BlackBerry 10 performs. Look for the official unveiling – along with at least two new smartphones based on the new OS – before the week is out.
Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.